The government will come out with a new consumer protection law and strict punishment will be meted out to entities which put out misleading advertisements, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said today. While acknowledging that a number of false and misleading advertisements come out in various media, the Consumer Affairs Minister told the Lok Sabha that various legislations have provisions to deal with “misleading claims and advertisements by companies”. During the Question Hour, Paswan said a new Consumer Protection Act is in the works and has been circulated to the Cabinet. The law would have strict provisions to deal with misleading advertisements, he added.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee had suggested various changes to the Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 and the government would be including them in the new Bill, he said. Paswan also said hallmarking of gold is going to be mandatory where the weight in grams as well as the company’s name would be written. To deal with misleading advertisements including those by manufacturers and celebrities, the government would put in place a mechanism to ensure strict punishment is given to those involved in such activities, he said.
Besides, an inter-ministerial monitoring committee, set up in 2014, monitors the redressal of complaints received on the portal GAMA (Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements). “From March 2015 till date, a total of 3,220 complaints have been registered on the portal. Of the complaints received, 1,683 complaints have been resolved and 715 complaints rejected,” the Minister said.
Further, Paswan said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has set up an inter-ministerial committee to look into specific complaints or take suo motu cognisance against violations of the Programme and Advertising Codes with respect to private satellite TV channels.