Early 70's were the days of shortages and scarcity of all essential commodities in our country. Hoarding, Black Marketing, Cheating in rates as well as weights measurements and quality were very common. Consumers were being ruthlessly exploited. Society, in general, was upset. At such situation few volunteers from Pune and Mumbai like Shri. Bindu Madhav Joshi, Late Sudhir Phadke, P.W. Gadgil, Madhukar Mantri, Rambhau Barve, Vidyadhar Gokhale etc, came together to mobilize consumer movement and possibility for establishing a consumer organization. With their sustained efforts Mumbai Grahak Panchayat was established in year 1975 and registered in 1981 under Charity Commission Act 1950 (Reg No. F7000). The basic idea was distribution of goods of essential house hold needs, to the organization members with collective buying on No Profit No Loss basis.
The goods distribution system established by Mumbai Grahak Panchayat is one of its kind and functional with ascending order for the last 38 years without single failure. Initially started with just families of 25, now grown to 32000 families in Mumbai-Thane-Raigad, Pune-Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. Even consumer International has lauded the distribution system as unique model for other developing countries and also role model for promoting sustainable consumption at the 18th World Congress held at Sydney, Australia in 2007. In fact, this distribution system is useful in the current retail scenario in the country.
Did the founder member think of distribution of essential provisions can be a foundation for consumer movement? Which was the ultimate goal? Because any movement should have two wings essentially, viz. Protection & Education.Though mission started with monthly distribution, founders wanted to make consumers in general, empowered by their rights and to establish their soverginity.
MGPs another uniqueness is largest number of voluntary activists including top management, and also largest participation of women volunteers.
This consistent growth is not the result of any aggressive marketing or publicity, but solely based on mouth to mouth publicity by the members & well-wishers.