Request to formulate a specified “Code of Conduct” for Brand Ambassadors

Dear Smt. Smriti Ji,
Re: Request to formulate a specified “Code of Conduct” for Brand Ambassadors with stringent penal provisions against irresponsible celebrity endorsements to protect Consumers
Our Country has a consumer driven economy and as such is considered as a ” Bazar” by the big Corporate Houses & MNCs and in their motive of earning huge money, they do not hesitate to even misled the Consumers by their Advertisement Campaign to the extent of having irresponsible celebrity endorsement which not only affect the mindset of the Consumers but even tarnish deep religious and socio-cultural connotations.
Since past few years, the trend of celebrity endorsement has gain a momentum in the Country and we have come across several advertisements where tall claims were made by the Brand Ambassadors about the product they endorsed but in reality, the quality & standard of the said product was found much lower than the claims.
The recent advertisement by Film Star Sunny Leone is a hoarding where a condom manufacturing company has tried to ride piggy back on the festive sentiment of Navratri to sell its product. What is offensive about the advertisement is that it brazenly uses double meanings and innuendos with commercial gains in mind, completely disregarding any sensitivity to the social and cultural fabric without caring for the consequences of such an action on impressionable young minds and at a time when religious fervour is at a high.
The larger question which needs to be answered is why are companies and celebrities who resort to titillating and misleading information allowed to get away with impunity? Should there not be any law/guidelines or atleast a legal framework which could make them accountable for their actions.
Celebrities from Amitabh Bachchan to Madhuri Dixit have in the past courted controversy over seemingly misleading or socially responsible endorsements, with the Maggi crisis perhaps being the most debated controversy relating to celebrity endorsements. Revered by millions, Bachchan has endorsed Pepsi in the past, an aerated drink which many experts have decried as detrimental to public health. Though the actor does not now endorse Pepsi, yet the damage has been done with millions of his fans taking to the drink, thanks to the icon’s endorsement of the fizzy drink, a deal which involved a substantial sum of money. It is more worst that celebrities endorsing product might not be using the same and still promoting the product encouraging the consumers to buy the same.
It’s in the light of the above, that we urge you to formulate a specified & binding “Code of Conduct” for the Brand Ambassadors which should have stringent penal provisions against misleading information and advertisements by corporate entities as also harsh penal deterrence against celebrities who abdicate their responsibility to society and propagate misleading information and falsehoods. Held in high esteem by ‘fans’ all over, its incumbent on these celebrities to carefully select platforms, products and messages that they choose to endorse. Given the fact that their each action is widely emulated and each word is taken to be the gospel truth by millions, its important that there should be a legal framework in place. Moreover, legislations like the Consumer Protection Act, which is pending before the Parliament must be passed in its next session and which should have the capacity to rein in irresponsible and errant celebrities whose sole purpose is to chase money with complete disregard for the larger social damage that their actions could be causing.
In the light of above, may we request you to please take a considered view of the same . However, a delegation of the CAIT wish to call upon your good self to discuss the critical issue in person. We trust that it will have your kind attention and we look forward for your valued response.

Bill English or Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand

New Zealanders  polls on Saturday in a cliffhanger election that sees conservative Prime Minister Bill English battling a challenge from charismatic young rival Jacinda Ardern.
No party has formed a majority government in New Zealand since proportional voting was adopted in 1996 and this election is unlikely to change that.
Thus two major focal  parties are evenly matched the minor parties play a vital role in formation of  coalition negotiation that can stretch on for weeks.
Waiting in the wings should that occur is Winston Peters, the 72-year-old leader of New Zealand First, who has played kingmaker in two previous elections and would jump at the chance to do so again.
English and his National party looked set to be in the driving seat until Ardern became opposition leader last month.
Her appointment immediately galvanised support for the ailing centre-left party, resulting in an unprecedented 20-point popularity boost for Labour and bringing it level with National.
The 37-year-old is bidding to become the youngest prime minister since 1856 and only the third woman to lead the South Pacific nation of 4.6 million people.
It is now shaping up to be the closest election since 2005, with opinion polls swinging wildly between the two leaders.
“It´s down to the wire and it will be extraordinarily close,” Ardern said, adding that she was taking nothing for granted in a campaign where the polls have reflected the electorate´s volatility.
The vote could be so close that there is no clear winner on election night as both major players scramble to forge coalition agreements with minor parties.
While coalition governments are standard in New Zealand, elections usually result in either National or Labour gaining a clear lead, meaning they can dictate terms to minor party coalition partners.

Arden accuses the government of inertia, saying that after three terms it has run out of ideas on issues such as housing affordability and protecting the environment.
“There´s a movement for change and I think after nine years people are starting to believe that we´re drifting,” she said.
Ardern´s policy platform includes free tertiary education and slashing immigration to reduce pressure on housing and infrastructure.
She has also talked up the prospect of generational change in New Zealand politics, appealing for young, disaffected voters to get behind her.
English, who took over as prime minister when John Key stepped down last year, has meanwhile dismissed so-called “Jacinda-mania” as “stardust” with no substance.
The 55-year-old ex-farmer and father-of-six points to his track record as finance minister under Key, saying only National can deliver strong economic growth.
English remains bullish about his prospects of defeating Ardern, even though no New Zealand government has won a fourth term in more than 50 years. Media agencies

Decisions taken by the Modi Cabinet

· Cabinet approves Revamped Khelo India Programme
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the revamped Khelo India programme at a cost of Rs.1,756 crore for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20. This marks a watershed moment in the history of Indian sports, as the Programme aims at mainstreaming sport as a tool for individual development, community development, economic development and national development. The revamped Khelo India Programme would impact the entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy.
· Cabinet apprised of the progress under National Health Mission and decisions of the Empowered Programme Committee and Mission Steering Group of NHM
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the progress under National Health Mission (NHM). The Cabinet was also apprised of the decisions of the Empowered Programme Committee (EPC) and Mission Steering Group (MSG) of NHM. National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was launched in April 2005 and it morphed into National Health Mission (NHM) with launch of National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) during 2013. Thereafter, NRHM and NUHM became two sub-missions under the overarching NHM.Cabinet noted the progress under NHM including accelerated decline in MMR, IMR, U5MR and TFR. It also noted the progress in respect of various disease control programmes like TB, Malaria, Leprosy etc.
· Cabinet approves Rationalization/Merger of the Government of India Press (GIPs) and their modernization
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its for rationalization/merger and modernization of 17 Government of India Presses (GIPs)/Units into 5 Government of India Presses (GIPs) at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Minto Road and Mayapuri, New Delhi; Nashik, Maharashtra and Temple Street, Kolkata, West Bengal.
These 5 Presses will be redeveloped and modernised by monetisation of their surplus land. Land measuring 468.08 acres of the other merged Presses will be given to Land & Development Office, Ministry of Urban Development. Land measuring 56.67 acres of the Government of India Text Books Presses (GITBPs) at Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar and Mysuru will be returned to the respective State Governments.
· Cabinet approves introduction of the Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for introduction of the Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in Parliament subject to modifications of drafting or consequential nature, if any, as may be considered necessary by the Legislative Department by amending the Dentists Act, 1948 (16 of 1948). The amendment will reduce the redundancy.
The clauses being amended include those pertaining to certain modifications in the provisions of the Dentists Act, 1948 with regard to:
1. the Membership of the Dental Council of India under clause (f) of section 3 and
2. the Membership of State and Joint State Dental Councils under clause (b) of section 21 and clause (b) of section 23 of the said Act.
· Cabinet approves Productivity Linked Bonus for Railway Employees Payment before Dussehra/Puja Festival season Incentive to Improve Productivity and Efficiency of Railways
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to pay Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days wages to eligible non-gazetted railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel) for the financial year 2016-17. About 12.30 lakh non-gazetted Railway employees are likely to benefit from the decision. This payment will be made before Dussehra/Puja holidays, bringing a smile to lakhs of families ahead of the festive season.
The payment of PLB would serve as an incentive, and result in motivating a large number of Railway employees, particularly those involved in execution and operations of railways, to improve their productivity and ensure safety, speed and service for Railway customers. Indian Railways operates on the principle of maximum public welfare, and in this context, this bonus payment will help in improving accountability and efficiency in railways operations.
The financial implication of payment of 78 days’ PLB to railway employees has been estimated to be Rs. 2,245.45 crores. The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of PLB is Rs. 7,000/- p.m. The maximum amount payable per eligible railway employee is Rs. 17,951 for 78 days.
· Cabinet approves transfer of Hotel Jaipur Ashok, Jaipur and Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Mysore, units of India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC) to Government of Rajasthan and Government of Karnataka, respectively and disinvestment of ITDCs shares in M/s Donyi Polo Ashok Hotel Corporation
The Union Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the transfer of Hotel Jaipur Ashok, Jaipur and Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Mysore, units of India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC) to Government of Rajasthan and Government of Karnataka, respectively and disinvestment of ITDCs shares in M/s Donyi Polo Ashok Hotel Corporation.
As per disinvestment policy of the Government of India, it has been decided to lease/sub-lease the ITDC hotels/ properties jointly with the States and where States have not agreed to the proposal of leasing/sub-leasing, the properties may be returned back to the States at their officially valued price. The policy has been formulated keeping in view that running and managing hotels on professional lines is not the job of Government or its entities.
· Cabinet approves increase of cost norms for Supplementary Nutrition provided in Anganwadis and in the Scheme for Adolescent Girls
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal for revision of cost norms with annual cost indexation for Supplementary Nutrition (SN) for the beneficiaries of Anganwadi Services and Adolescent Girls (out of school 11-14 years) under the Umbrella ICDS Scheme. This addresses a long standing anomaly and ensures that the changes in norms keeps pace with changes in costs on an annual basis. This follows the decision by the Government to provide cash benefits to pregnant and lactating mothers under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, and is part of an intensive effort to improve the nutritional status of women and children.
· Cabinet approves Extension of time period of the Scheme “Special Industry Initiative for J&K” (Sll J&K) – Udaan
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for extension of time period of the Scheme “Special Industry Initiative for J&K” (Sll J&K)- Udaan till 31st December, 2018 without any modification and cost escalation. Initially the time period of Udaan was upto 2016-17.
Udaan provides exposure to the youth of J&K to the best of corporate India and corporate India to the rich talent pool available in the State. So far, 109 leading Corporate have partnered with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under UDAAN with a commitment to train youth from the State covering Organized Retail, Banking, Financial Services, IT, ITES, Infrastructure, Hospitality etc. So far, 34,587 candidates have been selected of whom 31,903 candidates have joined, 22,237 candidates have completed the training, 7,649 are undergoing training and 14,694 have been offered jobs.

May, Macron, Gentiloni for quick removal radical contents

Leaders of France, Italy and the United Kingdom urged social media companies on Wednesday to more swiftly remove “terrorist content” from the internet, with the aim of stopping it from being uploaded in the first place.
“The tech companies have made significant progress on this issue, but we need to go further and faster to reduce the time it takes to remove terrorist content online,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly of world leaders in New York.
She said there was a need “to increase significantly the efforts to stop (extremist content) being uploaded in the first place.”
French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni later pushed in a separate event hosted by May for such content to be removed swiftly.
”This is what must be done. In one hour the content must be identified, analyzed and withdrawn to avoid it being broadcast widely. Experience shows that this is possible,” said Macron, speaking through an interpreter.
“We have a real battlefield for hearts and minds and (it) is the web,” Gentiloni said.
He said economic and privacy issues were a hurdle in this process, “but we also have to know, if we are aware of the fact that this battlefield is so relevant, that we can’t reduce our ambition because of the difficulties.”
Several websites across the internet list ingredients for making bombs or instructions on how to use vehicles to attack pedestrians.
Online retailer said on Wednesday it was reviewing its website after an investigation found it could help users buy the ingredients to make a bomb using its “Frequently bought together” and “Customers who bought this also bought” features.
The European Union has threatened legislation if internet companies do not better police what is available on the web.
“Removing all of this content within a few hours – or indeed stopping it from appearing on the internet in the first place – poses an enormous technological and scientific challenge,” said Kent Walker, general counsel for Alphabet Inc’s Google.
“The haystacks here are unimaginably large and the needles are both very small and constantly changing.”
Walker spoke on behalf of Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp, Google subsidiary YouTube and Twitter Inc, all members of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism created in June under pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of militant attacks.
Its aim is to share technical solutions for removing extremist content and work more closely with counter-terrorism experts.
Walker said between August 2015 and June 2017, Twitter had suspended almost a million accounts for the promotion of terrorism, and that the use of technology and artificial intelligence had allowed Facebook to root out “terrorist clusters.”
Media agencies


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