Hi Friends,

Even as I launch this today ( my 80th Birthday ), I realize that there is yet so much to say and do.

There is just no time to look back, no time to wonder,"Will anyone read these pages?"

With regards,
Hemen Parekh
27 June 2013

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Lifetime of a Law



Over the past few months , NDA government has repealed ( or about to repeal ) , some 1,000 + laws , some of which are 50 / 60 years old


These were enacted , keeping in mind the Social / Political / Economic situations prevailing at those times


But things are changing fast , making those laws obsolete in today's context


Having outlived their utility , these were only used to harass the public  !


Now , Minister for Food and Consumer Matters , Shri Ramvilas Paswan , is planning to replace the existing Consumer Protection Act with an improved version


Under this new version , any celebrity promoting any " sub-standard " product ( through endorsement ), without first checking out and satisfying himself with the " correctness " of the benefit claimed by that product , will become liable for ,


*  Imprisonment of up to 5 years


*  Fine of up to Rs 50 lakhs


No doubt , a very noble intent  !


But with a potential for endless litigation between , Government / Celebrities concerned / Advertisers / Media etc


I have not read the draft bill but the questions going through my mind are :


#   Is there a Government Notified , " Minimum  Standard " to which , each and every product must conform ?  Like Indian Standards for most engineering products  ?  I doubt , very much


    I suppose , the proposed law will make it mandatory for the products ( package ) to carry conformation with such a STANDARD , wherever it exists


Eg :


Are there " STANDARDS " for,


*  Lipsticks / Hair Oils / Shampoos / Soaps / Gels / Creams


*  Toothpaste / Diapers / Condoms / Skin Whiteners / Shaving Creams



#   Will this new act also cover " Services " ( besides " Products " ) ?


It would be next to impossible to prescribe rigid " Standards " for services of Doctors / Lawyers / Engineers / Management Consultants / Advisors etc



#   Does the new law expect that the endorsing celebrity must have , himself " tried out " / " Used " , those products and satisfied himself , before promoting the same ?


Even if it does , is it not possible that what worked well for Amitabh Bachhan , may not work for me ?



#  What about those " Surrogate " advertisements ? ( remember , conducting Board Meetings in  swimming pool , only to promote GLASSES ? )



#  What about ( once rampant ) " Subliminal " advertisements , which flashed on our TV screens for a fraction of a second and persuaded us to buy this or that , without our even being conscious of having seen that advt  ?


#  Many years back , advts appeared only in Newspapers and theater screens and were easy to monitor


Over the past 50 years , technology has progressively pushed these advts onto ever smaller screens , like TV / Computer / Tablet / Smart Phone / smart watch / Google Glass etc


Rest assured , within 5 years , these advts will appear on your thumb-nail or your eye-ball  ( not counting a hologram in the middle of your bedroom ! )


With arrival of IoT ( Internet of Things ) , you will not even need to SEE any advertisement , in order to be persuaded !


Advertiser will simply " Persuade " your " Refrigerator " to order AMUL cheese instead of GO cheese - without your knowledge and STANDARDS notwithstanding ! Why waste time to persuade you ?


How will anybody manage to monitor these ?


#  And finally , everything that you See / Smell / Touch / Feel or Taste ( through our 5 senses ) , will get processed by the Advertisers , using BIG DATA software , and products that you did not even know that you wanted , will get delivered to your home , by a drone !


Remember what that high priest of technology , Steve Jobs said while releasing iPad :


"  It isn't the consumers' job to know what they want "


Let us hope the new version of Consumer Protection Act , lasts 5 years !


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www.hemenparekh.in / blogs


18  May  2016

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(  Just multiple copy all the following Email IDs into the Recipient column of your Outlook and Copy / paste this suggestion in the Message Box ) :


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