Govt.'s DoCA engages with ASCI as an Executive Arm' to curb misleading advertisements
Continuing with the mission to address misleading advertisements and avoid unfair trade practices, Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) launched web portal GAMA today – GAMA being an acronym for “Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements”. The portal was launched by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Shri 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
- Financial services
The complaints will be evaluated across media like print, packaging, internet, outdoor, wall paintings, posters, bill boards, etc.
The complaints of misleading advertisements received on GAMA portal (gama.gov.in), will be handled in a three level system i.e. 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, Shri G. Gurucharan, Additional Secretary, DoCA added, "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, Mr. Narendra Ambwani, ASCI Chairman added, “We are very happy to have been entrusted with this responsibility by DoCA. GAMA portal will be very consumer friendly as one can track the status of the complaints which he or she registered on this portal.”
This partnership will go a long way in ensuring that all ads released in the country are honest, decent, safe and fair.