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ASCI appoints Ram Poddar as new chairman

MUMBAI: The Tobacco Institute of India chairman Ram Poddar has been unanimously elected chairman of the Board of The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

Poddar, who was elected by the board on 8 September, has been a member of the board of governors since November 1998 and has provided active support to the Self-Regulation in advertising movement.

Besides being the vice president of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, he is also on the Governing Bodies of the Indian Council of Arbitration and International Chamber of Commerce and is also a member of various committees of FICCI and CII.

Cadbury (India) Ltd. managing director Bharat Puri was elected vice chairman and HPC of Hindustan Lever Ltd. managing director Arun Adhikari has been appointed the treasurer.

The other members of the new Board of Governors are: Advertisers: Rajiv Dube (Tata Motors), Shantanu Khosla (P&G Hygiene and Health Care), Media: Bhaskar Das (Bennett Coleman & Co), Vikram Kaushik (Space TV), G Krishnan (TV Today), N Murali (Kasturi & Sons), Ad. Agencies: Sam Balsara (Madison Communications), Madhukar Kamath (Mudra), Pranesh Misra (Lintas), Arvind Sharma (Leo Burnett). Allied Professions: Dilip Cherian (Perfect Relations), Dhananjay Keskar (ICFAI Business School) and Partha Rakshit (AC Nielsen Research Services).

During the year 2004-05, the Consumer Complaints Council of the ASCI upheld 66 per cent of the 157 complaints received, and over 72 per cent of ASCI‘s rulings were complied with by the ad industry.

The Council made representations to the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and to the Secretary and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, at their meetings held in February and April 2005, to ensure stronger support for the Council and its self-regulation movement, so that the advertisements contravening the ASCI Code, are stopped.

Both the Ministries appreciated the self-regulatory work being done by the Council and confirmed Government‘s support by mentioning that in future, complaints against any advertisements received by them will be directed to the Council.

The Council is represented on three Committees notified by three separate Ministries, through which it has been able to influence government‘s policy making on advertising content and to obtain support for the Self-Regulation movement. The I&B ministry committee has decided to recommend a change in the Cable TV Rules by which, contravention of the ASCI Code by any TV commercial, will be considered as a violation of the Cable TV Act.

Poddar stated that the focus of the year would be to get every advertising industry body such as the AAAI, IAA-India Chapter, INS, ISA and IBF, to become even more actively involved with the vital issue of self regulation of advertising, so that Indian advertising continues to set high standards to enhance the confidence of consumers, in advertised products and services particularly those directed at children and women.

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