Published: 02nd July 2022
Gov't warns EdTech companies against unfair trade practices, promises strict action
A recent report by the ASCI revealed that the education category is the largest violator of the advertising code in 2021-22
The Central Government on Friday, July 1, warned EdTech companies against unfair trade practices. In a meeting with self-regulatory body India EdTech Consortium (IEC), which runs under the aegis of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Consumer Affairs Secretary, Rohit Kumar Singh, said that if self-regulation does not curb unfair trade practices, then formulation of stringent guidelines would be required for ensuring transparency, as stated in a report by IANS.
Representatives of the IAMAI, along with IEC member companies including upGrad, BYJU'S, Unacademy, Vedantu, Great Learning, WhiteHat Jr and Sunstone attended the meeting. The IEC comprises Indian start-ups and represents 95 per cent of the Indian learner community.
During the meeting, issues pertaining to unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements for the Indian EdTech sector were discussed prominently. Singh discussed ways to better manage consumer interests across India's EdTech ecosystem. As part of the agenda, members discussed the need to further enhance the Indian EdTech ecosystem to better safeguard consumer interests, through seamless, transparent and feasible offerings for consumers.
The Secretary pointed out that it has been reported that certain advertisements and practices do not seem to conform to prevalent guidelines and existing regulations and, therefore, it is imperative to work together to maintain robust checkpoints that align with the consumers' interests.
The problem of rising fake reviews was also a major point of concern, which needed to be contained. A recent report by the 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.