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Fair Is Not The Only Lovely: Government Proposes Jail & Fine For Ads Promoting Fairness!

Fair Is Not The Only Lovely: Government Proposes Jail & Fine For Ads Promoting Fairness!

"Get a fair and glowing skin in a week's time"... Seems familiar? Of course! We have all come across fairness cream ads that make us feel uncomfortable in our own skin. While it has become the new normal in our society to openly discriminate on the basis of skin colour, the need of the hour lies in doing away with the bias and pushing for colour impartiality.

And guess what? Our government has now proposed to intervene and boy, are we glad! Fairness or the lack thereof has been a common prejudice faced by men and women - in India and most parts of Asia. The whole industry has thrived on people's insecurities. It is high time that the 'fairness' industry be called out for making us feel like we're not good enough - because of the colour of our skin. 

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The Indian government has proposed to amend the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, formulated in 1954. According to the draft bill, a fine of Rs. 50 lakh could be slapped and imprisonment up to five years could be given for advertisements promoting pharmaceutical products for fairness of skin, deafness, improvement of height, hair loss or greying, obesity, among others. In the case of the first offence, a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh and up to two years’ imprisonment has been proposed (current law: imprisonment up to six months with or without a fine) while it is Rs 50 lakh for a subsequent conviction (current law: imprisonment for up to one year for second-time conviction).

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it is proposing the amendment “in order to keep pace with changing time and technology.”

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Shutterstock

The draft amendments also proposes:

  • The expansion of the definition of an advertisement to "any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice, banner, poster or such other documents: Provided that label or wrapper is an advertisement only if it contains any information or claim other than provided in the rules."
  • Prohibiting advertisements of products for the cure of "any" of the 78 conditions specified. The previous act only has 54 such diseases. 

According to the Ministry, the bill may be forwarded within 45 days after suggestions, comments or objections from the public and other stakeholders have been solicited. 

We can only hope that this bill translates into becoming a law. At the same time, let us not just rely on the government to bring about a change and start with ourselves. After all, beauty lies in the heart... not in the colour of your skin!

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