“Most of the misleading ads were from the education sector and promise of 100% job placements was one of the recurring unsubstantiated claims made by the advertisers,” ASCI said in a release
The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) under the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has banned as many as 177 advertisements across segments during July 2013. Among these are ads from prominent companies like Nivea, L’Oreal, Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Dabur, ITC, Audi, Maruti Suzuki and Apple India; they range from FMCGs to autos, personal accessories to alcohol, and education to media.
“Most of the misleading ads were from the education sector and promise of 100% job placements was one of the recurring unsubstantiated claims made by the advertisers. This was followed by health & personal care category, where most of the upheld complaint ads were found misleading, or making false or unsubstantiated claims,” ASCI said in a release.
Fair and healthy skin is every girl’s dream. But in reality, seldom, one is gifted with a flawless skin. The marketers of brands like Nivea, L’Oreal, Dabur have cashed in on such issues and successfully branded their products to unsuspecting customers.
For example, the commercial of the ‘Nivea Whitening Cell Repair’ lotion claims that it ‘repairs your skin by working 40 times harder’ while the title says ‘40x more vitamin C’. Other TV commercial of Nivea for ‘Men Dark Spot Reduction’ claimed that the face wash has a 10X formula that removes dark spots and gives a spotless face. Ponds Age Miracle, a product marketed by HUL in print advertisement claimed ‘Look up to 10 years younger with disclaimer in small print ‘With regular use’. The marketers have very shrewdly cashed in on sensitive issues like skin lightening and skin aging in all the mentioned ad campaigns. All such advertisement seems to defy ethical and safety codes as the in the Maruti Suzuki ad a minor boy is shown driving the car recklessly.
Completely unscientific claims by the companies are used by brands like the Kent RO water purifier. The ad dismisses the importance of boiling water by saying it spreads diseases. The celebrity spokesperson endorses the water purifier by quashing away a glass of boiled water.
Lucrative offers especially on gadgets and cars seem to be a readily available tool in the hands of the advertisers to lure the consumers.
Apple India targeted the student segment for its iPhone 4 models. In a print ad, Apple launched a buyback offer for the Apple iPhone4 8GB, iPhone 4S 16GB, iPhone 5 16GB, iPhone 5 32GB, iphone 5 64GB only. But some of the customers visited the retail store they were told that buyback offer was available only for iPhone 4.
ASCI said its newly launched consumer friendly website has also shown encouraging results as almost 25% of the total complaints were registered through the Online Complaint and Monitoring Service (OCMS). With this new service, consumers can now lodge complaints through the new ASCI website, ASCI Facebook page, email, smartphones, toll free telephone or regular post. Going forward, OCMS is going to play a crucial role in delivering transparency and speedy resolution of consumer complaints.
Here are the ads that were banned by ASCI during July…
HEALTH AND PERSONAL CARE
The CCC found the following claims in health and personal care product or service ads of 44 advertisers, released in the press to be either misleading or false or not adequately/scientifically substantiated and hence violating Chapter I of the ASCI Code. Some of the health care products or services ads also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act. Complaints against the following ads were UPHELD –
1. The Alankar Slimming & Cosmetic Clinic: Vibes Smart Tight Program helps with ‘instant weight reduction & helps lose 3-4 inches in one session’.
2. Glamour World Ayurvedic Co. Pvt. Ltd: Somi’s Glow Plus claims that they help with ‘re-growth of new hair using glow plus solution in 3 months’.
3. Re Touch Hair & Skin Clinic: Helps to get 100% rid of stones and white spots’.
4. Rajshree Hospital: Assures that ‘reduced weight won't increase again’, one can ‘get rid of obesity and diabetes’ and they have ‘obesity cure for sure’.
5. V Care Clinic: V Care Medspa uses ‘Stem Cell Therapy for Acne Pimples’.
6. Hair Solutions: In their print advertisement, they claim that Hair Solutions will help with all hair solutions like ‘growing natural hair’, ‘stop graying & stop hair fall’, and “Wonder hair cream”
7. Nivea India Pvt Ltd: Nivea Whitening Cell Repair lotion claims that it ‘repairs your skin by working 40 times harder’ while the title says ‘40x more vitamin C’.
8. Chaturbhuj Pharmaceutical: B Gap Contraceptives Tablet is ‘completely Ayurvedic, hormone free and gives no chance for pregnancy for 6 months’.
9. L'Oreal India P. Ltd: In their TVC Garnier’s Pure Active Neem Face Wash claim that it is ‘enriched with real Neem’ and it is ‘the first ever face wash that removes pimples and marks’.
10. Aadya Mahalakshmi Herbals: Claims that it is a “Men Oil & Herbal Capsule for Men for abundant vigour, and the visual implies a product for enhancement of sexual pleasure
11. Kalada Plastic Cosmetic Surgery & Burn Center: It helps ‘reduce weight 15 to 20 kg, liposuction of the entire body with the help of new Technique.’
12. Madras Doctor Piles Clinic: Claims to have cure for Piles, Fistula, Fissure, without surgical operation
13. Devi Ayurvedic Pharma: Claims that ‘Neelika eye drops are very effective in all types of eye problems, removes haziness, increases eyesight and helps to get rid of cataract.’
14. Rich Feel Trichology Centre: Claims that they are ‘World's first hair thinning treatment with plant stem cell extracts , reduces hair fall , restores hair regeneration and increases hair growth..’
15. Aas Clinic: Claims that it gives ‘successful treatment of epilepsy & successful treatment of baldness.’
16. Dr Patel Anti-Aging Clinic: Claims that they help ‘cure diabetes and other diseases.
17. Parth Hospital: They are the ‘first hospital in India which treats patients of headache and migraine without any painkiller medicine.’
18. Sri Om Ayurvedic Seva Sansthan: 100% successful with treatment for brain disease, heart disease, liver, kidney & stomach disease, stone, obesity, diabetes.’
19. Seba Herbal: Claims that they help cure ‘sex problems like non-performance, premature ejaculation, impotence, small size, nightfall with 100% guaranteed diagnosis.
20. Shreeji Sanjivani: It increases the child's intelligence, memory power, grasping power and digestion, enhances the child's immunity power, and makes him healthy.
21. Myovatec Surgical Systems (P) Ltd: Claims that they help with ‘weight loss, non –surgical/surgical options, comprehensive program, multi-disciplinary, expert medical team’.
22. Aadya Mahalakshmi Herbals: Aadyas Breast Oil & Capsule in their print advertisement claimed ‘Breast Grow Capsule’, ‘Effect starts in 5 days’, ‘No Side effects’, ‘100% Herbal’ and ‘100% Result’
23. Zipher Zion Pharmaceuticals: Royal Gold Capsules It is ‘100 % safe’, and ‘Result in just 9-10 days.’
24. AmbicAyurved: NavPaurush Powder/Capsules Claims ‘Gain Weight, build body.’
25. Adhunik Homeopathic Chikitsa Kendra Treatment for Irregular menstruation in women, Infertility, uterus tumor, swelling (Endometriosis).’ , ‘Complete treatment of Breast Tumor etc.’, ‘Stones’, ‘Complete treatment of Blood pressure, thyroid, diabetes, obesity.’
26. Shree Siyaram Ayurved Mandir Claims ‘Successful treatment of Sex Problems.
27. Kangra Herb Pvt Ltd: ‘The herbs are beneficial for the treatment of last stage cancer, liver failure, kidney failure, Hepatitis, skin psoriasis, arthritis.’
28. Sunrise Herbal Clinic ‘Reduces to 10 kg of weight in just 3 month.’
29. Priya Pharmaceuticals: Himadri Ayurveda Capsule Claims ‘Permanent relief from pimples within 7 days.’, ‘Relief within seven days for Gastric trouble, Bleeding, Constipation, pain etc.’
30. Adhi India Advance Hair Restoration Centre ‘Revolutionary ADHI Technique Originated in India, Adopted Worldwide.’, ’80,500- Satisfied customers across the globe.’
31. Great linx Impex Pvt Ltd: Praan Herbal Pain Relief Claims ‘18X better than Balm’
32. Deewal Gramodyog Sansthan: Deewal Range of Products Claims ‘BH+ - World's first hair colour which is free from chemical and allergy’ , ‘Kimmadhu-Wonderful medicine to rectify sugar level’ , ‘Keshkalp- Stops hair fall and get rid of baldness’
33. Cure Homeo Clinic Claims Treats and cures patients with Psoriasis.
34. Makewell Pharmaceutical Japani Tel in their print advertisement claimed ‘If you want to stay happy after marriage, Japani oil.’, ‘Very popular for male's energy/ stamina 35.
35. Vasu Pharmaceuticals: Trichup Hair ‘A name that more than 50k doctors trust.
36. Hindustan Unilever: Ponds Age Miracle in print advertisement claimed ‘Look up to 10 years younger with disclaimer in small print ‘With regular use’
37. Nivea India Pvt Ltd : Nivea for Men Dark Spot Reduction in TVC claimed that the face wash has a 10X formula that removes dark spots and gives a spotless face
38. Prabha Hospital Provides 100% cure for all diseases without performing any surgery.’
39. L'Oreal India P. Ltd: Garniers Naturals Hair Colors Claims Naya Garnier colour natural ab aur bhi behtar’, ‘Trust only the No.1’ and disclaimer saying ‘basis urban retail data’.
40. Vini Cosmetics White Tone Face Powder Visual misleading in their TVC shows a woman whose oily and darkish skin and is transformed to a fairer skin tone on using White Tone Face Powder.
41. Dabur India Ltd: Odomos Range in the print advertisement claimed ‘100% protection from mosquitoes both in and out of home.’
42. L’Oreal India P. Ltd: Garnier White Complete Multi Action Fairness Cream claimed that ‘Sirf hum detehai complete fairness’, meaning that its product is the only one to give complete fairness. The claim is qualified with the disclaimer that by complete fairness, the reference is to both instant and long-term fairness.
43. Brad Enterprise: In their TVC, they claimed that Brad Eye Glass Remover is ‘100% ayurvedic’, ‘treats cataract without surgery and myopia without glasses’.
44. The Alankar Slimming & Cosmetic Clinic: Claims inch & Weight Loss and sure cure for Hair Loss.
45. Force Clinic Claims: Successful treatment of sex related diseases, successful treatment of looseness, premature ejaculation, impotency and low sperm count’.
46. HC Group: They can help an individual to ‘increase their height’
47. Herbal Icon India Co: ‘It helps end impotency from its roots’. ‘By applying this on the penis one can increase its shape/ length and thickness’
48. Param Pharmacy: Cure ‘for Tumour in Ovary and Uterus’ ‘It is an accomplishment of Ayurveda’, ‘No need of operation’, ‘Tumour healed by Ayurvedic treatment’, ‘No need of removal of uterus.’
49. Aadhar Herbal: Cures diabetes ‘Totally stop Allopathy, injection, insulin’,
50. Makewell Pharmaceuticals: Ad of Japani Tel depicts women in indecent and vulgar manner and visuals implying a product that enhances ‘potency’, which is a violation of the DMR regulations.
51. Shakti Bhog Foods Ltd: S Brown Marie claims it ‘Helps to control blood sugar.’, ‘Visual of Heart shape with claim - Zero % Cholesterol & Trans-fat.’ The CCC concluded that the claims, ‘Helps to control blood sugar’, ‘Visual of Heart shape with claim - Zero % Cholesterol & Trans-fat’, were not substantiated adequately with clinical data. Also, with respect to claims regarding control of blood sugar the advertisement was in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and III.4 of the Code.
52. Tara Health Foods Limited: Zaitoon Tara edible oil in its print advertisement claimed ‘Edible oil prevents cancer, diabetics, acidity, cholesterol, etc.’ No Edible oil has been proven to prevent cancer, diabetes or cholesterol. The advertisement is misleading. . The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1, I.4 and III.4 of the Code.
The CCC found following claims in print ads by 94 different advertisers were not substantiated violating the ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions and hence the complaints against the ads were UPHELD –
International Marine, IMS Learning Resources Pvt Ltd, Pacific Education Society, Kaizen Training Institute, Inset Computer Education, Kv Institute Of Management & Information Studies, Achieve Academy, Dolphin School Of Hotel Management, Indian Institute Of Hardware Technology, Amet University, Siddharth Classes, Sri Bhagwati P Memorial & Education Society, SITM (Jodhpur), S S Education Trust, International Institute of Fashion Designing Academy, Bright Academy, Jagdish Chandra Institute Of Modern Technology And Industrial Studies, Om Cad the Design Studio, EduEdge Coaching Classes, Asian Institute of Film & Media Studies, Career Defense Academy, Chate Group, NIIT Ltd. , S S Academy, The George Telegraph Group, National Classes: Paavai Institutions, VSB College of Engineering, Sumangal College of Business Administration, ICA Infotech Pvt. Ltd ,Vista Mind, Alchemist ,Anm Nursing Training School, Crucible Coaching Preeya Pariwar, NIMS coaching, Appin Technology Labs, Techno Campus Mobile Phone InstituteGujarat, Institute of Hotel Management IHM Meerut, Oriental Group of Hotel Management , Aditya Engineering & Pharmacy College, New Horizons Computer Learning Center , Amrita International Institute of Hotel Management, IIHT Computer Education ,Sinhal Classes,National Institute of Event Management, NCFM Training Centre, IANT Computer Education, Apollo Group of College, IES Gate Academy, PT Education & Training Service,Cadd Centre India Private Ltd ,JK Shah Classes, XL Education Forum,Alpine Center,KPR School of Business, National Academy of Event Management & Development, International School of Telecom Technology & Management, Career Point, Columbia Group of Institute, Patna Sahib Group of College, Lords Institute of Management, Gloma Group of Institutes, Shanti Design School, Institute Of Business Studies & Research - Institute Of Management Studies, Xplora Design Skool, Royal Education Centre, Millia Educational Trust - Millia Institute Of Technology, Gyaan Computer Education - Tally Champs, Mahajana Tourism Development Institute, Shri Balaji Nursing Home & Health Training Center, Tirumalaa Study Centre, UPCIA Industrial Training Centre, Mehta Institute of Career Training, Chamunda Institute of Hotel Management, Subhas Bose Institute of Hotel Management, Global Group of Institute, CH Charan Singh Polytechnic, Creative Vision Technology, Excel Edu learning, NEITE College of Management, Sri Balaji Education & Charitable Trust - Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering &Technology, Sir Padampat Singhania University, Manda Institute of Technology, Nalanda Institute of Advance Studies, Kongu Arts & Science College, Calcutta Institute, Marine Engineering Training Institute, Jagriti Institute (Sikar), Bhanuka Institute of IT Education, GMS Institute, 3CM Infotech, Exxon Academy:
Complaints against advertisements of all above educational institutes were UPHELD because of unsubstantiated claims that they ‘provide 100% placement/and /or they claim to be the no.1 in their respective fields’.
The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in these 6 advertisements and cited in the complaints below were not substantiated. The advertisements contravened Chapter I. of the Code. The complaints were UPHELD.
• Veon Systems: The print advertisement of Veon Water Purifier claims that it has received the ‘Best Purifier Award from all our 2 Crore Over Whelming Customers’, ‘Veon gives you the country's purest water’, ‘Presenting World's First Seven Stage Fully Automatic’, RO Water Purifier that requires No Periodic Servicing for Just Rs. 5999.’
• ETA General Private Limited: The print advertisement of General Air Conditioner claims that they ‘save up to 55% on power hence it can be run like a fan’, is ‘eco-friendly’.
• Symphony Ltd: Symphony Jumbo in its TVC claimed that it ‘has an operating cost of just one or two bulbs.’
• Hindustan Unilever Ltd: PureIt Water Purifier in its TVC claimed that the ‘Use of PureIt and save money on 3 gas cylinders in a year’.
• Luminous Electronics: Luminous Livpure RO Water Purifier in their TVC claimed ‘0% water wastage’.
• Kent Ro System Ltd: The CCC concluded that the claim, ‘why drink boiled water? Use Kent RO’, was misleading by ambiguity, and denigrated ‘boiling water’ as it claimed that ‘boiling water can spread diseases’. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.4 and IV.1 (e) of the Code.
Tata Teleservices Ltd.: The CCC concluded that the claim, “Unlimited 3G data for Rs.250”, was misleading as the disclaimer mentions that “3G data would be upto 1 GB only”. The advertisement contravened Chapter I.4 of the ASCI Code. The super that appeared in the TVC was not clearly legible, thus contravening the Regulations of ASCI’s minimum lettering size of supers. The complaint was UPHELD.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd: The CCC concluded that the visual depiction of “a child with ink stained teeth and mouth”, is likely to encourage minors to emulate such acts in a manner which could cause harm to them. The advertisement contravened Chapter III.2 (b) of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
ITC Limited: The CCC concluded that it shows a dark skinned girl feeling inferior or inadequate and subsequently attracting male attention on being fair and therefore the TVC derides people based on their colour. The advertisement contravened Chapter III.1 (b) of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd: The CCC concluded that the claims E-Samay has a circulation of over 3 Lakhs as of April 2013 in Kolkata’, ‘It retained more than 85% of after changeover from subscription to cover price’, ‘The paper is now the undisputed Number 2 Bengali daily’ were not adequately substantiated and were misleading. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1, I.2 and I.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Audi India: (Audi Q3) in their print advertisement claimed ‘Audi Q3 at a price down payment of Rs. 6, 00,000 and 84 EMI’s of Rs. 38,000 only for ‘on-road price (with registration and insurance)’. The fine print below indicated that ‘this is a bullet scheme’, ‘Offer valid only on June 22 and June 23, 2013’.The claims were not substantiated The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and I.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd: Maruti Swift in the TVC showed a minor (boy wearing sun glasses) driving the Maruti Swift recklessly, albeit car being not in motion. The CCC concluded that the TVC shows unsafe and reckless driving. The advertisement contravened Clauses (b) and (c) of the Guidelines on Advertisements for Automobile Vehicles. The complaint was UPHELD.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in these three advertisements were not substantiated. The advertisements contravened Chapter I.1 of the Code. The complaints wereUPHELD.
• Hindustan Unilever: In their TVC Brooke Bond Red Label claimed that it is a ‘Healthy tea that improves blood circulation’.
• Adani Wilmar Ltd: Caims that ‘Olive oil has a low smoke point’, ‘olive oil has a characteristic taste that is incompatible with Indian cuisine’, ‘lower calories’, ‘has a balanced fatty acid composition’, ‘comes closest to the ideal ratio of saturated fatty acids that is recommended by WHO’.
• Kalyani Solvex (P) Ltd: Nature Pure Ref Rice Bran Oil ‘completely reduces cholesterol’.
The CCC concluded that the two advertisements cited below are offensive to generally accepted standards of public decency. The CCC found these two advertisements indecent, distasteful and were likely to cause grave or widespread offence. The advertisements contravened Chapter II of the Code. The complaints aginst them were UPHELD.
• Saj Food Products (P) Ltd: Their TVC Bisk Farm Top Biscuit shows ‘a job aspirant (girl) offering to compromise and making advances at the interviewer.’ The ad has been tastelessly done with absolute disregard to social values.
• Euro India Fresh Foods Pvt Ltd: In their TVC of Namkeen, the advertiser has depicted women in an indecent manner.
The CCC concluded that the following advertisement is indirect advertising for products whose advertising is prohibited or restricted by law (Surrogate advertisements for liquor brands). The advertisements contravened Chapter III.6 of the Code. The complaints were UPHELD.
Finlandia Vodka: Alcohol brands or surrogates thereof are not legally permitted to advertise in India. This clearly falls foul of the law as Finlandia is a brand of vodka.
Rasna Private Limited: In their advertisement Rasna Nimbu Pani, the brand is positioned for children. While on the packaging, it is written that ‘The product contains artificial sweetener 'aspartame' not recommended for children’. The graphical design of Rasna Fruit Plus Lite – Nimbu Pani was too similar to the mother brand Rasna Fruit Plus. Rasna Fruit Plus range advertisement is positioned for children and has the brand ambassador Sehwag Hence children would not be in a position to understand the difference between the variants and would be induced to consume Rasna Fruit Plus Nimbu Pani which contains the ingredient “aspartame” which is not recommended for children. The product packaging contravened Chapter III.2 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the following four advertisements and cited in the complaints below were not substantiated. The advertisements contravened Chapter I of the Code. The complaints were UPHELD.
• WWS Skyshop P. Ltd: Ayurvedic Roopamrit Fairness Cream/Gel in itsTVC shows ‘A fairness product that is used to brighten up the complexion of dark skinned people in a very short time’.
• TVC Sky Shop Limited: Quitt, in its print advertisement claimed that Quitt can help you ‘Give up smoking and alcohol’ and is ‘100% herbal’.
• AAA Teleshopping P. Ltd.: In its TVC, No Addiction claims that it ‘can enable an addict to quit drinking/smoking/ drugs/ gutkha’.
• Telemart Teleshopping: In its advertisement Zero Addiction claims that the ‘use our product for 45days daily 2-3grams twice and quit from your bad addiction like smoking, drinking & if u can't get a result return our product in 15 days.’
JMD Teleshopping: In their TVC, Madhu Sanjivani claims that it ‘provides 100% cure for Diabetes’, ‘Madhisanjeevani ingredient is imported from Africa’. In the absence of comments from the Advertiser, the CCC concluded that the claims, “Provides 100% cure for Diabetes”, “Madhisanjeevani ingredient is imported from Africa”, were not substantiated. Also, the advertisement was in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1 and III.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
Sky Star Advertising: Hair Building Fiber: The visuals make one believe that with the use of the product, one’s baldness is cured. This was not substantiated and was considered misleading. Also, the baldness related claim in the advertisement was in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. The advertisement contravened Chapters I.1, I.4 and III.4 of the Code. The complaint was UPHELD.
The CCC concluded that the claims mentioned in the following two advertisements below are not substantiated. They are distorted and have exaggerations that mislead consumers. The advertisements contravened Chapter I of the Code. The complaints were UPHELD.
• Indiabulls Real Estate: In their print advertisement Greens claimed ‘Phase 1 Completed, 329 apartments delivered’, ‘Phase II Construction 50% complete’, ‘Over 320 happy families moving in’.
• Damac Properties Co. LLC Akoya: In their print advertisement claimed ‘Pay Rs. 1.1 crore and move into a villa on a golf course in Dubai.’
Apple India Private Limited: In their advertisement Apple I Phones ‘offer for upgrade to IPHONE 4 - special student offer. The fine print says that ‘the buyback offer for non-students remains at Rs. 7000/- . Offer available on Apple Iphone4 8 Gb, iPhone 4S 16GB, iPhone 5 16GB, iPhone 5 32GB, iPhone 5 64GB only.’ From the above it is clear that one can have an exchange offer of its iPhone for Rs7000 and get any of the models as listed in the advertisement. When the complainant visited the retail store at Image, I world, Jumbo electronics, all at Gurgaon malls, they refused to exchange as per the offer. They said that it is only on iPhone 4. They said that we have an Email from Apple that it is only on iPhone4. The advertisement is misleading. The Advertiser was granted additional lead time to respond as per their request; However, in the absence of comments from the Advertiser by the due date post extension, the CCC concluded that the advertisement contravened Chapter I.7 (c) of the Code (Non-fulfillment of advertised promise –Whether the Advertiser has taken prompt action to make good the deficiency to the consumer). The complaint was UPHELD.
Quit Smoking International Ltd: I Quit Smoking
The CCC concluded that the claims that the product ‘reduces the craving for nicotine and helps smokers by diminishing their desire to smoke’ were not substantiated with clinical study / data. The complaint was UPHELD.
Along with these there were certain advertisements on which 11 complaints were registered during July but they were not upheld since they did not negate the guidelines of the ASCI. Some of the commercials are of brands like V-GUARD Industries Ltd: V-GUARD Invertors, Federal Brands Ltd: Live in Jeans, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Company Ltd: Godrej Air Conditioner, Reckitt Benckiser (India) Ltd: Durex Condoms, Swatantra Power Pvt Ltd: Helios Inverter Batteries & Ups, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd.: Sensodyne Toothpaste, Mankind Pharma Limited: Manforce Condom Strawberry Flavor, Hyundai Motor India Limited: Hyundai i20: The ghost-buster, Hyundai Motor India Limited, Bharat Business Channel Limited: Videocon d2h, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Havells India Ltd: Havells Cable, Info Edge (India) Ltd, 123 Sesame Street Preschool, Tomtom India Ltd - Tomtom Via Series, Cadbury (India) Ltd – Bournvita, Star India P. Ltd. - Star Sports, Hindustan Unilever Ltd - Fair & Lovely Cream, Sony India - Sony Xperia Z Smart Phone, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd - Maharashtra Times – growing premium Marathi daily, Vini Cosmetics Pvt. Ltd – White Tone Face Powder, Archies Perfumes, Lulu Australia, Kohinoor Business School, Dabur India Ltd - Dabur Red Toothpaste.
Only a close above 5,800 can reverse the current downtrend
The market opened with a downward gap today and continued to fall through the day. By the end of the session the indices hit a low since 6 September 2013 and closed almost at the same level. The Sensex opened at 19,644 and moved down from the level of 19,651 to 19,321 during the day and closed at 19,380 (down 348 points or 1.76%). The Nifty opened at 5,801 and hit a low of 5,719 and closed at 5,735 (down 98 points or 1.68%). The National Stock Exchange (NSE) recorded a lower volume of 48.47 crore shares.
Except for MNC (up 0.06%) and IT (up 0.02%) all the other indices on the NSE closed in the negative. The top five losers were Bank Nifty (2.85%); Finance (2.63%); Metal (2.57%); Realty (2.48%) and Media (2.35%).
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 9 ended in the green. The top five gainers were ACC (1.13%); Hindustan Unilever (0.97%); HCL Technologies (0.86%); BPCL (0.52%) and Lupin (0.20%). The top five losers were NMDC (5.33%); Tata Steel (5.24%); Jaiprakash Associates (4.64%); ICICI Bank (4.59%) and Coal India (4.27%).
The market awaits the current account data tomorrow. India's current account deficit probably widened to as high as 5.4% in the June quarter, but a slowdown in gold imports and a rebound in merchandise exports are expected to narrow the gap in coming quarters.
The government said on Friday that it will allow unlisted Indian companies to list directly and raise capital overseas to retire debt or for acquisitions or operational needs abroad. The move comes at a time when the government is battling to trim the current account deficit and attract dollar inflows.
The rupee was trading weak by 15 paise at 62.65 against the dollar. The rupee had closed at 62.50 on Friday.
The US Congress failed to agree on a new budget and the concern that the US government may headed for a shutdown brought the weakness around the globe. US indices ended in the negative on Friday.
With no compromise in sight, Obama told a White House news conference that Congress must pass a bill to fund the government and failure to do so would destabilise the world economy. The 2014 fiscal year in the United States starts on Tuesday, 1 October 2013, and politicians remain at loggerheads over passing a budget.
Even if Congress resolves the budget fight by the October 1 deadline, US lawmakers would move to the next fiscal dispute over raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.
Except for Shanghai Composite (up 0.68%) all the other Asian indices ended in the negative. Jakarta Composite, top loser, was down 2.43%.
A Chinese manufacturing gauge unexpectedly rose less than a preliminary estimate in September, highlighting challenges for Premier Li Keqiang in sustaining a rebound from a two-quarter economic slowdown. The Purchasing Managers' Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics rose to 50.2 in September from 50.1 in August. The final number was less than last week's 51.2 preliminary reading. A similar gauge from the government is due tomorrow, 1 October 2013.
European indices were trading in the negative. US Futures were trading deeply in the red.
Dr Rajan’s first task would be to ensure that the RBI puts out a proper working definition of financial inclusion. Without proper baseline data, quoting facts and figures is meaningless as then, we would not be able to attribute whether financial inclusion occurred because of something we did consciously or it was simply an accident and/ or act of GOD
There is a lot that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan can do to bring transparency to the financial inclusion process. I say this, notwithstanding the issues that I have already raised about composition of the Committee and the conflicts of interest of its members. Let me start with the definition of financial inclusion and data pertaining to the same, as my first article of a series that will look at measurement of financial inclusion and related aspects.
Without a clear definition of financial inclusion and good ground level data, much of what we say in terms of inclusiveness in the financial sector is analogous to writing on water. Additionally, without proper baseline data, quoting facts and figures is meaningless as then, we would not be able to attribute whether financial inclusion occurred because of something we did consciously or it was simply an accident and/or act of GOD.
Having an internally consistent definition of financial inclusion is very critical. And generating data based on the same is even more important. Together, these can form the basis for our opinions and judgements, which in turn can shape policy and subsequent implementation appropriately.
It therefore follows that we first need a reliable and valid definition of financial inclusion in terms of type of products and services (for example, it could be loans, savings, insurance, remittance, literacy and financial education services, ombudsman services etc) accessed through different institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, SHGs, MFIs, Business Correspondents, Cooperatives etc) by various kinds of mutually exclusive individuals/households from different segments of society (especially, low income and excluded groups).
Please note that some of these financial inclusion services could be one time services (like going to an ombudsman), others (like loans) may be repeat services and some others like savings accounts (or pension accounts) could even be continuous long-term services. Likewise, several institutions may combine to form a channel – for example, I could get a loan from an SHG that is linked to a bank which has been refinanced by a DFI like NABARD. I could also get a loan from an MFI that has borrowed from a DFI (SIDBI) and is on-lending to me. The permutations and combinations are endless here but please note that the above distinction between channels and institutions is very important for determining correct outreach of financial inclusion!
In fact, the real outreach of our financial inclusion services through the various channels and institutions is not transparently known today. This is because there is overstatement of outreach figures through double and triple counting as sometimes data of different institutions within a channel is added up to give an incorrect outreach figure.
Sometimes, people have genuinely accessed services through different channels as well. This again provides an exaggerated picture of total outreach and penetration with regard to financial inclusion.
Given the above, Dr Rajan’s first task would be to ensure that the RBI puts out a proper working definition of “financial inclusion” and ensures that all stakeholders promoting and/or looking at financial inclusion use the same consistent definition. Otherwise, outreach figures on financial inclusion would be meaningless and cannot be evaluated or compared in a serious manner.
A second important task for Dr Rajan is ensure that proper data (which can then become a baseline going forward) is available with regard to financial inclusion. Here, the priority task would be to know ASAP:
And when we say financially included, we need to be able to disaggregate this figure in terms of services/products accessed by these mutually exclusive individuals/families through different channels (and their institutions) and across various regions/states in India. If this basic data becomes available, then, we can analyse the data to get better analytics about the rural-urban divide, demographics and so on
As someone who has worked in over 540 districts of India over the last 25 years, I can say that the data with regard to SHGs needs to be more transparently and accurately estimated. What is lacking is objectively verifiable data on the number of well functioning SHGs, their demographics with transactions on loans and savings, overlap of members across SHGs (many SHGs have dual membership or in some cases, I have even seen membership in three to four SHGs) and the like. Likewise, we lack transparent and accurate data with regard to MFIs and their clients as well. There is so much of overlap in clients across MFIs (as evident from the 2010 AP crisis). Similarly, clients appear to be shared significantly across the MFI, the SHG Bank linkage, Cooperative and other models. All of these lead to significant exaggeration in outreach data. Further, data on KYC, priority sector lending including to agriculture, BC models, insurance services and pensions also have their problems and thereby contribute to outreach exaggeration.
Thus, given that there is so much double and triple counting and exaggeration in the outreach data, it is imperative that we know the real outreach in terms of mutually exclusive individuals first and as mutually exclusive households next. I hope Dr Rajan will set in motion appropriate processes so that transparent data which can lend itself to objective field verification is publicly available. We need to know how many mutually exclusive individuals/households have been reached by various financial inclusion efforts and this would also entail significant coordination with other regulators like IRDA and PFRDA, which again, Dr Rajan would need to ensure through appropriate mechanisms.
Most people assume financial inclusion is a one time or static phenomenon. On the contrary, it is dynamic one where people float in and float out of the financial inclusion eco system. It is very similar to concept of floating population in big metros like Delhi or Mumbai!
Take the case of all the clients who had their loans waived off as part of the farmers’ loan waiver scheme some years ago! After the waiver, several of these clients were classified as defaulters by the respective banks and hence, they could not regain access to the formal financial services that they once had been able to access. Likewise, as a previous Moneylife article (Financial inclusion of sugarcane farmers in modern-day India) showed, many sugar cane farmers who were once included (by virtue of having got a bundled loan for sugarcane) were subsequently excluded for reasons mentioned in the article. The same is the case with the 2010 AP micro-finance crisis where most of the clients in AP who did not pay back at the height of the crisis are now classified as defaulters (both in general terms as well as in the credit bureau) – as a consequence, no formal or quasi formal financial system will touch them hereafter. In fact, the erstwhile IRDP (Integrated Rural development Program) had included millions of people way back in the 1980s but many of these people left the financial ecosystem for various only to be re-included through some other scheme/program later. While I could give many more examples, the key issue here is that anyone who is included financially need not stay included always.
The above also implies that the linkage cited between ‘financial inclusion’ and ‘inclusive growth’ is at best tenuous because of the following aspects:
To summarise, the larger point that I am trying to make are the following:
And all of this data must be capable of disaggregation by products/services, channels (and their institutions), states/regions and so on. Only then will we be able to make meaningful analysis of all the hype surrounding financial inclusion.
(Ramesh S Arunachalam has over two decades of strong grass-roots and institutional experience in rural finance, MSME development, agriculture and rural livelihood systems, rural and urban development and urban poverty alleviation across Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. He has worked with national and state governments and multilateral agencies. His book—Indian Microfinance, The Way Forward—is the first authentic compendium on the history of microfinance in India and its possible future.)