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Center warns ed-tech companies against unfair trade practices

The center said that it will be forced to bring stringent guidelines if there is no self regulation by the industry players.

IEC runs under the aegis of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
IEC runs under the aegis of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

The government has warned ed-tech companies on Friday against indulging in unfair trade practices, including misleading advertisements. The center said that it will be forced to bring stringent guidelines if there is no self regulation by the industry players.

The increase in fake reviews in the edtech space and ways to curb it were also discussed during a meeting by Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh with self-regulatory body India Edtech Consortium (IEC) and other industry players in the national capital. “If self-regulation does not curb the unfair trade practices, then stringent guidelines would be formulated for ensuring transparency,” Singh said at the meeting.

The meeting was attended by representatives of IAMAI, along with IEC member companies, including upGrad, BYJU’S, Unacademy, Vedantu, Great Learning, WhiteHat Jr. and Sunstone. The secretary discussed ways to better manage consumer interests across the ed-tech ecosystem.

Singh pointed out that it has been reported that certain advertisements and practices do not seem to conform to prevalent guidelines and existing regulations. Therefore, it is imperative to work together to maintain robust checkpoints that align with the consumers’ interests, he said.

IEC runs under the aegis of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). IEC comprises Indian startups and represents 95 per cent of the Indian learner community.

In addition, the industry members shared the ‘Code of Conduct’ to enhance transparent offerings in relation to ethical sales, and marketing communications. The discussion also spotlighted the effectiveness of the two-tier Grievance Redressal mechanism introduced by the IEC, which has claimed to resolve 99% of the issues raised on average, an official statement said.

The IEC explained the grievance redressal process and the role of the Independent Grievance Review Board (IGRB) – which has been set up to oversee the alignment and adherence to the Code of Conduct which comprises of Justice B S Chauhan, retired Judge of the Supreme Court, Aruna Sharma, a bureaucrat and Anand Sudarshan, industry veteran amongst others.

With inputs from PTI.

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