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Dept. of Consumer Affairs and ASCI join hands

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MUMBAI: Strengthening its mission towards self-regulation in advertising, Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, has partnered with Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) to augment the efforts on stopping misleading advertisements.

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.

DoCA will redirect the complaints received by it to ASCI to avoid duplication of processing of complaints against advertisements that is already under process by ASCI. The complaints will be evaluated across media like print, packaging, internet, outdoor, wall paintings, posters, bill boards, etc.

Commenting on the partnership, DoCA additional secretary G Gurucharan said, "The problem of misleading advertisements and the consequent unfair trade practices that arise is widespread - across sectors, mediums and geographies.  DoCA's effort is to build a coalition of stakeholders to combat this menace - partnering with ASCI is an important step."

ASCI chairman Narendra Ambwani added, “It’s a moment of pride for ASCI to have received such support from DoCA. Earlier our work has been recognised by various government bodies like Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), Medical Council of India (MCI) etc. It’s highly motivating to see such developments and this partnership has widened ASCI’s scope for complaints.”

While the operational aspects of this collaboration between DoCA and ASCI is being worked upon, DoCA has requested ASCI to flag off  advertisements that are in clear violation of the law (e.g. claims regarding cure of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, sexual impotence, leucoderma (white spots), paralysis etc. covered under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act). This would enable prompt action against such non-scrupulous advertisers and protect consumer interest.

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