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ASCI gets a shot in the arm in fight to curb misleading advertisements

Department of Consumer Affairs has launched a web portal for ‘Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements’ in partnership with ASCI to process incoming consumer complaints

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 19, 2015

From L-R Mr. Narendra Ambwani- Chairman,ASCI & Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan- Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (1) From L-R Mr. Narendra Ambwani- Chairman,ASCI & Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan- Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) has launched a web portal for ‘Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements’ (GAMA). The portal was launched by Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan, at the National Conference on Consumer Rights in New Delhi. DoCA has partnered with the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) as an Executive Arm to process the incoming consumer complaints.

The collaboration will see joint efforts to evaluate and pass strictures against the violators. The six priority sectors that would be covered are: Agriculture and Food, Health, Education, Housing, Financial Services and E-commerce. The complaints will be evaluated across media such as print, packaging, Internet, outdoor, wall paintings, posters, bill boards, and so on.

The complaints of misleading advertisements received on GAMA portal (gama.gov.in), will be handled in a three level system: first by ASCI, the second level of escalation in case of non-compliance would be by a sub-committee headed by the Joint Secretary DoCA, under Inter Ministerial Monitoring Committee (IMMC), and in the end, the concerned regulator will take action in case of persistent offenders. DoCA is also leveraging the network of Grahak Suvidha Kendra to make it easier for consumers in remote areas to complain.

Commenting on the partnership, G Gurucharan, Additional Secretary, DoCA, said, “The problem of misleading advertisements and the consequent unfair trade practices that arise is widespread – across sectors, mediums and geographies. DoCA’s partnering with ASCI is an important step in empowering self-regulatory bodies and demonstrating ‘More Governance – Less Government’.”

Speaking on the occasion, Narendra Ambwani, Chairman, ASCI, added, “We are very happy to have been entrusted with this responsibility by DoCA. The GAMA portal will be very consumer friendly, as one can track the status of the complaints which he or she registered on this portal.”

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