The consumer body says that the advertising code is based on international codes, advertising standards maintained by countries like Ireland, the UK and also on the Advertising Standard Council of India’s code
Ahmedabad-based consumer organisation Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) had prepared a detailed draft code on advertisement standards to address issues like misleading, false, unfair, harmful, discriminatory, unsubstantiated and surrogate advertisement, against the background of a proposed law on advertising by the government.
CERC says that the advertising code is based on international codes, advertising standards maintained by countries like Ireland, the UK and also on the Advertising Standard Council of India’s (ASCI) code.
The ASCI is currently the self regulatory watch dog on the advertising industry in India. The CERC code, apart from giving general rules—principles, substantiation, legality, prices, comparison, guarantee, honesty, safety—that has to be followed by the advertisers, also gave detailed guidelines for niche segments advertising like beauty and health, products and service endorsing slimming, promising employment, gaming and betting, etc. It has also laid advertising guidelines for broader sectors like finance, environment, etc. CERC is conducting a workshop on “Protecting Consumers against Misleading Advertisements” on 7th January 2012.
To give some examples, CERC’s code for advertising for health and beauty products says that it should not contain any offer to diagnose, advice, prescribe or treat by correspondence; encourage indiscriminate and should not suggest that the product or treatment is safe/ effective because it is ‘natural’ nor should it refer to the omission of any ingredient in a way that suggests it is unsafe or harmful. It also says that an ad should not suggest or imply that a well balanced diet needs to be augmented by vitamins or minerals on a regular basis.
Talking specifically advertisements on hair recovery services and products, the CERC code says that it should not claim that a particular product or treatment can prevent baldness or slow it down, arrest or reverse hair loss, stimulate or improve hair growth, nourish hair roots, strengthen the hair or improve its health unless substantiated.
There are often advertisements claiming easy and quick weight loss. However, many of them make misleading claims to lure gullible consumers. The CERC code says that such advertising should not make a claim, unless substantiated, that long-term slimming, weight loss or inch loss can be achieved either generally or from specific areas of the body by any means other than dieting, for instance by expelling water, speeding up the metabolism, etc. It also says that, “An advertisement should not suggest that persons of normal weight need to slim. ‘Crash diets’ should not be advertised because of the danger that such diets can pose to the health of dieters not under medical supervision.”
Similarly, ads of medicine should not use fear or anxiety to promote the cure from an illness and should not use health professionals or celebrities to endorse medicines. It should also show accurate illustrations of the effect or action of any product and a label of warning should be fixed stating that symptoms persists, the doctor should be consulted.
Advertisements related to training courses and employment opportunities, experts say, leads in making misleading claims. Often people fall in their trap and end up losing their money. CERC says that training courses advertisement should make no promise of job unless guaranteed and should clearly embark the required level of attainment. According to the code, employment advertisements should correspond to genuine vacancies and should not require interested respondents to send money for further details. Terms and conditions should not be misrepresented and any earnings forecast should be realistic. If income is earned from a basic salary and commission, or commission only, this should be made clear.
Financial advertisements, promise high income on investment which is often confusing and misleading. The CERC code states that when an advertisement contains any forecast or projection, it should make clear the basis on which the forecast or projection is made. For instance, it should be clear in the ad whether reinvestment of income is assumed; whether account has been taken of any applicable taxes and whether any penalties or deductions will arise on premature realisation or otherwise.
For ads claiming environmental friendly, the code says that it should not be used without qualification unless advertisers can provide convincing evidence that their product will cause no environmental damage. It says that advertisers should think that there products are universally accepted and hence should state where there is a significant division of scientific opinion
According to the CERC code, advertising targeting children should not feature unsuitable products, encourage unhealthy lifestyle— eating or drinking, exaggerate what is attainable by an ordinary child using the product and should not minimise the price of products by using words like ‘only’ or ‘just’.
IDFC said it will raise Rs 4,400 crore through the issuance of a second tranche of tax-saving long term infrastructure bonds on 11 January 2012.
Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) said it will raise Rs 4,400 crore through the issuance of a second tranche of tax-saving long term infrastructure bonds on 11 January 2012. The second tranche of the bond issue would be open for subscription till 25 February 2012, IDFC said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
In December 2011, IDFC had mopped up Rs 538.08 crore from the a first tranche of tax-saving long-term infrastructure bonds. The company plans to raise Rs 5,000 crore from infra bond issues this fiscal. The five-year bonds have a coupon of 9%. The NBFC had mopped up Rs 1,451 crore from over 7.3 lakh retail investors through the issue of long-term infrastructure bonds in FY11.
"There is every possibility of a decline in interest rates if inflation by March is at around 6-7%:” Union Bank CMD
A moderation in inflation during the next 2-3 months could trigger a big reduction in interest rates by around one percentage point in the near-term, state-run lender Union Bank of India said.
"There is every possibility of a decline in interest rates if inflation by March is at around 6-7%. The trigger would be the RBI's policy statement (later this month)," Union Bank chairman and managing director M V Nair told reporters.
"Unless some major event takes place, interest rates should come down by at least 100 basis points," he said. His comments came after food inflation plunged into the negative zone in the week ended 24 December 2011, declining by 3.36%. Experts, including Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan, have said the decline in food inflation will bring down headline inflation to below 7% by March 2012.
"When interest rates are high, asset quality gets affected, which is not good," Nair said.
The RBI has hiked interest rates 13 times since March 2010, to tame demand and curb inflation. The base rate of commercial banks, according to RBI data, ranges from 10% to 10.75%.
Nair also expressed concern about the sharp depreciation in the rupee, which weakened by over 15% against the US dollar during 2011. "The rupee depreciation will definitely impact the asset quality of banks," he said. The Union Bank chief, however, said the non-performing assets situation of his bank is likely to improve from the next quarter, though he did not give any figures. The bank expects credit growth to be around 16% by March-end. "We expect our net interest margin to be 3.20% by March-end," he said.
During the first half (April-September) of 2011-12, Union Bank's net interest margin stood at 3.14%.