iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 27, 2012
With the general elections due in less than two years, the consumer affairs ministry has realised it needs a better connect with the aam aadmi. After years of campaigning barely creating a flutter, minister of state (independent charge) for food and consumer affairs KV Thomas now wants top professional agencies and producers for “new ideas and catchy designs”. This campaign will then be taken to top colleges and citizen’s forums across the country.

The new campaign will be based on public-interest issues such as misleading advertisements, quality of food and consumer awareness on unfair trade practises.

At a review meeting conducted by minister of state (independent charge) for food and consumer affairs KV Thomas on Tuesday, the sloppy implementation of the ministry’s ad campaign reportedly came under the scanner.

At the meeting, not only was the admission that the creative advertisements are “poor in nature” made, but it was also emphasised that the government’s own advertisement arm—DAVP—is “taking a lot of time, even months” to roll out campaign materials.

“We want to give a new thrust to a new publicity drive to inform people about their rights. There has to be a better approach in this new publicity campaign,” Thomas told HT.

Even as the ministry has set aside an annual budget of R80 crore for publicity, a large sum of that remained unspent especially due to bureaucratic hassles. It was also decided to review the allocation of campaign fund to Doordarshan and All India Radio.

The ministry also wants to strengthen its consumer helplines and may soon set new guidelines to check adulteration of food, especially milk and its products.