Centre warns ed-tech companies of strict action if unfair trade practices continue – CNBCTV18

The Narendra Modi government on July 1 warned the ed-tech companies against unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.

During a meeting with the self-regulatory body, India Edtech Consortium (IEC), in New Delhi on July 1, Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs, said if self-regulation does not curb the unfair trade practices, then stringent guidelines would need to be formulated to ensure transparency.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), along with IEC member companies, including upGrad, BYJU’S, Unacademy, Vedantu, Great Learning, WhiteHat Jr. and Sunstone.

The secretary pointed out that it has been reported that certain advertisements and practices do not seem to conform to existing guidelines and regulations.

“Therefore, it’s imperative to work together to maintain robust checkpoints that align with the consumers’ interests. The problem of increasing fake reviews was also a major point of concern that needed to be contained,” Singh said.

The secretary discussed ways to better manage consumer interests across India’s ed-tech ecosystem.

IEC comprises Indian startups and represents 95 percent of the Indian learners’ community. As part of the agenda, the members discussed the need to further enhance the Indian ed-tech ecosystem to better safeguard consumer interests, through seamless, transparent, and feasible offerings for consumers.

India Edtech Consortium falls under the aegis of the IAMAI.

A recent report by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) revealed that the education category is the largest violator of the advertising code in 2021-22. The secretary also advised IEC to continue with their positive efforts to serve the ecosystem and form a joint working group with relevant stakeholders to create the SOPs in this regard.

The industry members briefed the secretary about the progress of the IEC and the direction of ongoing efforts to improve the awareness and welfare of learners.

Also, the members shared the ‘Code of Conduct’ which is instrumental in enhancing and promoting seamless and transparent offerings in relation to ethical sales, and marketing communications.

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.

(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)

First Published: Jul 01, 2022, 06:21 PM IST

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.