The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) has appointed the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) as its 'Executive Arm'. The objective is to curb misleading advertisements and unfair trade practices.
A three-level system has been put in place for this: the first level includes ASCI and its procedures. The second level will see an escalation of the complaint in case of non-compliance; this will be led by a sub-committee headed by the joint secretary of DoCA and the Inter Ministerial Monitoring Committee (IMMC). The third level will see the concerned regulator take action against persistent offenders.
"The collaboration will see joint efforts to evaluate and pass strictures against the violators. The six priority sectors that will be covered include agriculture and food, health, education, housing, financial services and e-commerce," says ASCI in a press note.
The complaints will be evaluated across media including print, packaging, internet, outdoor, wall paintings, posters and billboards.
DoCA is also leveraging the network of Grahak Suvidha Kendra to make it easier for consumers in remote areas to complain.
G Gurucharan, additional secretary, DoCA, says on the matter, "The problem of misleading advertisements and unfair trade practices is widespread, across sectors, mediums and geographies."
DoCA's partnership with ASCI, he adds, will empower self-regulatory bodies.
Narendra Ambwani, chairman, ASCI, adds, "We are very happy to have been entrusted with this responsibility. The GAMA portal will be very consumer friendly as one can track the status of the complaint/s registered."