New Delhi: The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on Thursday said it has processed more than 1,000 complaints against advertisers on behalf of the department of consumer affairs (DoCA) in the last one year.
The ministry had appointed ASCI to monitor its website www.gama.gov.in that was launched on 18 March. GAMA is an acronym for Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements.
The majority of the complaints processed by ASCI came from individual consumers as well as consumer organizations like Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC). The portal received complaints against advertisements of products and services across sectors such as telecom, banking, consumer durables and e-commerce. The complaints were against ads in television, print, online and other digital media. In many cases, the advertisers either withdrew the advertisements or modified them as appropriate within a stipulated period.
“The problem of misleading advertisements is extensive and needs immediate attention. The launch of the portal is helping us accomplish the vision we have towards protecting consumers’ interest,” C. Viswanath, secretary, department of consumer affairs, said in a statement.
Benoy Roychowdhury, chairman of ASCI, said the co-regulation initiative between the government and ASCI has enhanced effectiveness of protecting consumers from advertisements that are misleading. Roychowdhury is also the executive director of HT Media Ltd that publishes Mint.
ASCI is a self-regulatory body of the advertising industry. It has been recognized under ‘The Cable Television Network Rules, 1994’ which states that “No advertisement which violates the Code for self-regulation in advertising, as adopted by the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI), Mumbai, for public exhibition in India, from time to time, shall be carried in the cable service.”