Friday, July 31, 2020

Is your face mask safe for you and your family?

It is safe to say that the global pandemic has turned our world upside down and changed the notion of what was considered normal. Not only health, its impact can also be seen on various businesses tools. 

While the pandemic has caused losses for several industries, it has also given rise to newer opportunities. Makers of masks, PPE kits, sanitizing and disinfecting solutions are among the few products that have gained the spotlight. This has created an opening for small and mid-size companies to grow and for large companies to diversify. While this is a wonderful opportunity, it has also given rise to a rat race for others in the health and hygiene space and various companies producing masks are spreading misinformation about the materials and technologies they are using which can be toxic or carcinogenic in nature and can lead to serious health concerns in the long run.


  1. Is the mask certified or compliant with any applicable regulatory standard? 
  2. How credible is the testing protocol against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and the reports from independent testing agencies / laboratories, and what modifications have been made to the testing protocol? - ISO 18184 is the internationally recognized standard to determine the antiviral activity of textile products. 
  3. What is the durability of the antiviral performance – how long can it be used for with such performance, how many washes can it sustain, how long does the performance last from date of manufacturing and/or opening the package?  - The ISO 18184 protocol requires that the mask be washed 10 times before testing – has that been complied with? 
  4. How safe are the antiviral agents used – if the performance isn’t durable, why is that so? Does it claim to not leach chemicals? 
  5. If there are any Antiviral claims then, has the technology been approved for use in this area, has it passed bio compatibility tests, and is there safety data.

We are standing at a juncture where our lives are not just at risk due to the pandemic but also the protective equipment, we are using to shield ourselves from the virus. It is high time 
that we realize that the masks readily available in the market are not just spreading misinformation, but also, they are carcinogenic in nature. Some products have 10-20% of benzalkonium chloride or commonly known as BAC. Studies by scientists have reported respiratory toxicity of BAC. Exposure to BAC induces cytotoxicity and DNA damage in the human bronchial cell line and acute or repeated inhalation of BAC induces lung irritation, inflammation, and alveolar damage. Some brands are admittedly using a reaction mass of Titanium Dioxide and Silver Chloride in its products. Fraudulent claims of corona killer masks are also doing the rounds. Use of Titanium Dioxide, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has stated that it is a suspected carcinogen associated with lung cancer if inhaled by human beings. During the pandemic, this is shameful and blatant profiteering, attempting to take advantage of consumers that are not equipped with accurate information. In a developing country like ours with its enormous diversity, there is a lack of regulation and Government oversight and these false claims can harm the lives of hundreds of millions of people. 


Masks that we are commonly using are causing more harm to our health than we can imagine. Hazardous chemicals, high silver, titanium, zinc or other leaching chemicals with heavy metal content are dangerous and can lead to potential health risks. Moreover, there is no evidence / test results conducted by the companies that suggests that the masks have any antiviral properties whatsoever. There is a serious risk of death the more such chemicals are inhaled into your lungs. Certain companies have been miscommunicating and overstating their performance data as well as withholding this important safety information, thereby misinforming users and jeopardizing their health. It must be kept in mind that N95 is not meant for COVID protection. WHO asked healthcare workers to wear N95, which has efficacy of trapping particles 300 nanometres or larger. The average size of COVID particles is 120 nanometres. The need of the hour is an effective antiviral mask that can kill and deactivate the virus and also is completely biodegradable, without causing any cross contamination to ensure complete safety. 


A few weeks ago, on 17th of June, India, experienced a scientific revolution that was the need of the hour to safeguard humanity and return to normal life. Switzerland based Livinguard AG launched their face masks in India, a one of its kind mask that can directly inactivate bacteria and viruses, including 99.9% of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 /COVID-19 virus. Currently, these masks are Made in India, by Indians, for India.  Researchers from Freie Universität Berlin and ITA RWTH Aachen, two of the most globally reputed academic institutions in virology and textiles, have confirmed the efficacy of Livinguard’s self-disinfecting technology that permanently destroys the coronavirus when applied to textiles and is permanently bound (non-leaching) to the fabric. Scientific results have followed on similar findings from The University of Arizona, Tucson and are especially relevant now as countries gradually ease lockdown restrictions and populations seek a return to the next new normal. Livinguard remains committed to its battle against COVID-19 with its masks currently being used by law enforcement and frontline workers on a global scale, protecting those most vulnerable in the battle against COVID. 


It is not just physically the unmitigable ecological damage from these non-biodegradable waste. Masks have become an integral part of our lives and are vital in battling the COVID-19 crisis, but most of them need to be disposed of daily, especially by healthcare workers. This waste is slowly piling up an environmental crisis. Delhi and other metros are still lagging in the systematic collection and disposal of this waste, which further poses a risk to the health of sanitation workers.  While there is a lot of messaging on using masks while stepping out, making masks at home etc. there is still a lot to be done in building awareness on proper disposal of single use masks so that these don’t end up as litter on streets, in dumpsites or bodies of contaminate water. Scientists have estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the oceans than fishes but considering the huge spurt in plastic and single-use consumption in the form of PPE, masks, gloves, protective body bags, this may happen earlier. We are left with a horrifying tale of environmental destruction when we calculate the number of disposable masks with a population of 130 billion.

Quote pertaining to the New National Education Policy (NEP)- Saumil Majmudar, Co-founder, CEO and Managing Director, Sportz Village

With regards to the new education policy announced by the government, sharing the quote by Saumil Majmudar, Co-founder, CEO and Managing Director, Sportz Village 

Addressing the New National Education Policy, Saumil Majmudar, Co-founder, CEO and Managing Director, Sportz Village said that, “The new National Education Policy (NEP) is a welcome change at a time when the health, happiness and immunity of children are becoming increasingly important due to the pandemic. 

The new NEP includes several key points that are instrumental for the holistic development of a child. By eliminating the rigid separation between curricular and extra-curricular activities, the NEP acknowledges sports to be equally important as any other subject like English or Science, thereby increasing the Fun and Engagement that children desperately seek in a school.

 Through Play, children can develop physically, mentally and socially. And we have also found Play to contribute positively to academic outcomes, classroom behaviour and attendance levels. Moreover, assessment-specific reforms such as the development of the National Assessment Center and tracking a child's progress based on learning outcomes are great initiatives as they focus on the learning progress, thereby focusing on the all-round development of a child. 

We expect that sports and play, will be delivered and assessed with the same rigor and structure as core academic subjects, thereby ensuring all children experience the magic of Play and Sport, and we develop a nation of healthier and fitter children through the school system. The emphasis on Vocational Education is also a great step towards all-round development of children and we hope children will be able to choose Physical Activity and Sports as a Vocational subject. 

We look forward to the translation of the policy to reflect in a more playful, fun and engaging school environment for children while meeting the adult goals of learning outcomes."

Blue Dart Sales at ₹ 4,142 million for the quarter April-June 2020

Mumbai, July 31, 2020 : Blue Dart Express Limited, South Asia's premier express air and integrated transportation, distribution and logistics Company, declared its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, at its Board Meeting held in Mumbai today.

Revenue from operations for the quarter ended June 30, 2020 stood at  4,142 million and net loss at ₹ 1,279 million (after accounting for deferred tax).


Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart said "Blue Dart continues to be a forerunner in the express logistics industry in India, with a strategic focus on all sectors. The business environment was extremely challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Company continued its operations to support critical supply chain in challenging times. The national lockdown during the quarter impacted our results as the GDP continues to be in negative territory, and the eco  system for an efficient supply chain was dislocated but we continued our role as the nation’s trade facilitator moving essential items for the Pharmaceutical and Medical Equipment Industries and thereafter as the Government eased the restrictions we moved non-essential items for various sectors. We are proud to be a part of the Government’s ‘Lifeline Udan’ initiative and flew domestic and international charters carrying PPE Kits, Ventilators, COVID testing kits etc. We are thankful to our teams who have been fully engaged in a customer centric approach thereby ensuring that even in the time of great stress we have played a key role in helping the nation and our customers in keeping its mission critical supply chain operating. We at Blue Dart are very proud of this achievement.


Automation and technology will continue to be the pivots of our business. Both of this allow our business to be resilient which ensures that there is a high sense of discipline in the organisations, our customers are highly satisfied and balance sheet is sound.

Our commitment to serve Blue Dart country with the support of our highly passionate team, remains persistent.”

He added, “We will further strengthen our position as the Provider of Choice and the Investment of Choice and build a business that consistently sets a bench mark for the industry and is future ready.

We are optimistic about the future and our key pivots of focus on Emerging Markets, Sectors, SMEs, Channel Development, and Reach Expansion will all continue in aggression.


These we believe will create long term value for the business and stakeholders.”


Blue Dart remains India’s most innovative and awarded express delivery company. Blue Dart was recently certified as a Great Place to Work by Great Place to Work® Institute India for the 10th year. Blue Dart was also ranked amongst the 50 Best Workplaces in India – 2020 by Great Place to Work® Institute and The Economic Times, voted a Superbrand for the 13th year, recognised as a Company with Great People Managers by Great Manager Institute and Forbes, recognized as the Most Trusted Brand 2019 for the 13th time in a row by Readers Digest, awarded with the ET NOW presents Stars of the Industry Awards ‘Brand Leadership Award’ for Excellence In Supply Chain & Logistics, presented with the prestigious Golden Peacock Award at IOD India's ‘4th Annual Global Convention on Corporate Ethics & Risk Management’ and recognized by Green Freight Asia (GFA) for its commitment to adopting Green Road Freight Practices as a Carrier in 2019.


About Blue Dart:


Blue Dart Express Ltd., South Asia's premier express air and integrated transportation & Distribution Company, offers secure and reliable delivery of consignments to over 35,000 locations in India. As part of Deutsche Post DHL Group’s DHL eCommerce Solutions division, Blue Dart accesses the largest and most comprehensive express and logistics network worldwide, covering over 220 countries and territories, and offers an entire spectrum of distribution services including air express, freight forwarding, supply chain solutions and customs clearance. The Blue Dart team drives market leadership through its motivated people, dedicated air and ground capacity, cutting-edge technology, wide range of innovative, vertical specific products and value-added services to deliver unmatched standards of service quality to its customers.


Blue Dart's market leadership is further validated by its position as the nation’s most innovative and awarded express logistics company for exhibiting reliability, superior brand experience and sustainability which include recognition as one of ‘India's Best Companies to Work For’ by The Great Place to Work® Institute, India, ranked amongst ‘Best Multinational Workplaces in Asia’ by The Great Place to Work® Institute, Asia, voted a ‘Superbrand’ and ‘Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brand’, listed as one of Fortune 500’s ‘India's Largest Corporations’ and Forbes ‘India's Super 50 Companies’ to name a few. Blue Dart was voted a Super brand for the 13th year and awarded the Global HR Excellence Awards-2020, at World HRD Congress for Talent Management practices at Blue Dart.


Blue Dart fulfils its social responsibility of climate protection (GoGreen), disaster management (GoHelp) and education (GoTeach) through programs. 

Swiggy launches Health Hub to make healthy eating convenient

Launched in Bangalore, Health Hub will extend to Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Delhi in the next few weeks

  • First food delivery platform in India to enable listing of detailed nutritional information for healthy dishes by restaurants
  • Swiggy has strengthened its platform by enabling curation of over 10,000 unique healthy dishes by 1,000+ restaurant outlets


National, 31 July 2020: Swiggy, India’s leading on-demand delivery platform, has launched Health Hub, a dedicated healthy food discovery destination on the main Swiggy app. With heightened health consciousness, increasing awareness around eating right, and a growing demand for food amongst urban Indians, that is nutritionally measured, Swiggy has worked with nutritionists and top restaurants in the country to enable curation of special health menus and dishes by restaurants.  Health Hub will further assist consumers in deciding what to order by becoming the first food delivery platform in the country where the restaurants will be able to share detailed nutritional information on macronutrients like protein, carbs, fats etc. for dishes.


The past few months have altered the food consumption habits of Indians with a renewed focus on eating right, especially as they spend more time indoors. As per Swiggy’s StatEATistics 2019 analysis, there was a significant uptake in orders for healthy food, including dishes like Khichdi as well as global trends like Keto dishes. In 2019, healthy eating was one of the fastest growing consumer trends on the platform.


As part of Health Hub, Swiggy has worked with leading restaurants on multiple levels to assist them in creating delectable healthy options of popular dishes so that consumers don’t have to compromise on their choice and taste. Consumers have the ability to choose from gluten-free, high-protein, low-carb, organic, vegan, and keto meals across soups, salads, wraps and desserts. Furthermore, keeping the Indian palate in mind, Swiggy has deep dived into the healthy food preferences of consumers through a detailed consumer research. One of the biggest gaps that emerged through this research was the limited options when it came to health-focused dishes in Indian cuisine. Swiggy worked with numerous restaurant partners to assist them in enhancing their menus to cater to this growing need for healthy food.


With Health Hub, consumers will have access to the nutritional break-up of each dish along with the calorie count, allowing for better choice and decision making while they enjoy a wholesome meal. Over 10,000 unique healthy dishes from 1,000+ restaurant outlets are available on the platform at present. Health Hub is currently live for android users in Bangalore and will expand to Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi in the next few weeks.


Commenting on the launch of Health Hub, Vivek Sunder, COO, Swiggy, said, “There is a visible demand for healthy food choices by consumers and restaurants are seeking opportunities to innovate and stay relevant to these market changes. With Health Hub, we want to boost healthy eating patterns across the country and dismiss commonly held beliefs that healthy food is bland, hard to find and expensive. By leveraging the wide range of restaurants through our platform, we are not just empowering the consumers with an array of healthy options but also assisting restaurants to create differentiated and dedicated healthy menu options. With the launch of Health Hub, we expect this trend of ordering healthy dishes to grow and more than double over the next 6 months.”


To enable restaurant partners to quickly adapt, Swiggy is providing support in menu design, ingredient sourcing, staff training, branding and marketing. For instance, Swiggy has worked with one of Bangalore’s favourite restaurants - Truffles, to assist in curating a dedicated healthy menu and offer healthier versions of some of their most popular dishes like Tandoori/Peri Peri Chicken Burgers and protein packed Tandoori Chicken Steak which are healthier variants of their tandoori/classic chicken steak. Similarly, WarmOven Cakes & Desserts has introduced a set of Sugarfree, Multigrain, Millet & vegan based cakes and bars on Health Hub.


Commenting on this partnership, Avinash Bajaj, Director, Truffles Hospitality Pvt Ltd said, “Truffles is excited to launch its curated healthy menu through Swiggy Health Hub. Keeping in mind the growing health consciousness among customers, we have launched a curated healthy menu on Swiggy called "Healthy Twists". We think Swiggy Health Hub will be a single destination for healthy food for all palates and we are excited to serve our patrons with the new healthy menu by Truffles.”


Founded in 2015, Grow Fit is the best-selling health focused restaurant on Swiggy. Expressing her excitement on the launch, Jyotsna Pattabiraman, Founder & CEO, Grow Fit, said, “All of us at Grow Fit are excited to partner with Swiggy on the launch of Health Hub. Grow Fit is a pioneer in nutrition and dedicated to the belief that health starts with eating right. With Swiggy’s Health Hub, it’s simpler than ever for customers to make the switch and for health brands like us to meet new customers.”


“Health hub is a great platform offering healthy food choices, keeping in mind the current scenario. Along with Chaayos' signature Meri Wali Chai, patrons can enjoy their favourite beverages, nashta and snacks that are not just flavorful but also healthy and nutritious!” says Nitin Saluja, Founder, Chaayos Meri Wali Chai.


Currently, Health Hub is live in 30+ areas in Bangalore and provides healthy options from popular restaurants including Grow Fit, Truffles, Adiga’s, Chai Point, Apsara Ice Creams, Brooklyn Creamery to name a few. As part of the launch campaign, consumers also stand a chance to win exciting offers and coupons as ‘Health Rewards’ for ordering in healthy food. The coupons can be used to leverage offers like a free diet plan with coaching from HealthifyMe, access to online classes and discounted therapy sessions, DocsApp subscriptions, live yoga sessions from SARVA yoga and Mi Fit Bands. The health rewards program is designed by Swiggy to assist its users in leading an overall healthy lifestyle.


About Swiggy:

Founded in 2014, Swiggy is India’s leading on-demand delivery platform with a vision to elevate the quality of life for the urban consumer by offering unparalleled convenience. It connects consumers to thousands of restaurants and stores in over 500 cities. Using innovative technology, Swiggy provides a hassle-free, fast and reliable delivery experience. Every order delivered by Swiggy’s fleet of independent delivery partners engaged on a principal to principal basis, ensures a host of customer-centric features like lightning fast delivery, no minimum order value, live order tracking, and 24/7 customer support.

Seniority announces ‘The Grand Freedom Sale’ from 2nd to 9th August Up to 80% discount on lifestyle and medical products

National, 31st July 2020: Seniority, India’s largest shopping destination for senior citizens, is ringing in the nation’s 74th Independence Day with ‘The Grand Freedom Sale’. Starting 2nd August right till 9th August 2020, the ecommerce platform will offer massive discounts of up to 80% across medical essentials, daily living aids, household & kitchen items, nutrition & Ayurveda as well as home décor & gardening products. Customers can avail an additional 10% discount using a special “GRAND10” coupon code.

The 8-day sitewide sale will have a host of new products on discount for the first time. Right from grooming tools by Philips, shaving products from Lets Shave to a range of natural skincare products from The Natural Wash, customers can fulfill their personal care requirements with exciting offers. Gardening enthusiasts can decorate their gardens with cutesy products from Bloom Bagicha, while tea lovers can treat themselves to an assortment of natural tea from Chai Craft.

To add to the festivities, ICICI Bank is offering a special 20% discount (max discount up to Rs 1000) to its credit card users. So get ready to celebrate this Independence Day with some amazing festive offers for you and your loved ones. Log on to: 

About Seniority:
Seniority, an RPG Group Company, is India’s largest shopping destination for senior citizens. With a thoughtfully curated product portfolio of over 10,000 products ranging from medical and wellness to leisure and lifestyle, the company has served over 5 lakh customers as of March 2020. It has over 2 million visitors on the website and continues to engage in community building initiatives throughout the country. With the brand ethos as ‘Live Evergreen’, Seniority aims to resonate with the senior citizens of today who are independent and empowered in their own right. For more details please visit:

Real-time In-store Insights (RII) Implementation Service by HCL Technologies Now Available on Microsoft Azure Marketplace

Microsoft Azure customers worldwide now gain access to the RII implementation service to take advantage of the scalability, reliability, and agility of Azure to drive application development and shape business strategies.

India – July 31, 2020 – HCL Technologies (HCL), a leading global technology company, today announced the availability of its Real-time In-store Insights (RII) consulting offer, a four-week implementation of its RII solution, on Microsoft Azure Marketplace, an online cloud marketplace providing tailored line-of-business solutions.


The RII offering aims to leverage IoT-powered insights to reimagine the retail space and transform the shopping experience. RII utilizes radar-sensing technology and imaging technology to capture accurate demographics and real-time locations of foot traffic patterns and movements, cutting through adverse ambient conditions and interference. Distributed computing technology and advanced artificial intelligence models track key shopper touchpoints to visualise contextual insights on customizable web-based dashboards, along with heat maps and trend reports. This facilitates quick tactical and strategic decision making, and the solution can be run independently of end-user devices.


The solution leverages various Microsoft Azure components like IoT Hub, IoT Edge, and Azure VMs, amongst others, for enhanced storage, computing, monitoring and scalability capabilities. RII is now easily deployable, rapidly scalable and implementable across such industries as manufacturing, retail, and healthcare, and in public spaces such as offices, malls, and airports.


In the implementation process, HCL Technologies will showcase RII and how it can give retailers insights that enable them to personalize services and improve store operations. Retailers will learn how to create contextual demographic sets, correlate with seasonality, and analyze buyer behavior using the data collected.


Learn more about the RII consulting offer at its page in the Azure Marketplace.


The Azure Marketplace is an online market for buying and selling cloud solutions certified to run on Azure. The Azure Marketplace helps connect companies seeking innovative, cloud-based solutions with partners who have developed solutions that are ready to use.

Procam International launches ‘Sunfeast India Run As One’

~India’s largest citizen movement in support of livelihoods to kick-off on Independence Day~ 
~ Powered by GiveIndia and supported by Fit India, this initiative rests on the 3 pillars of Community, Social Impact & Wellness.  

  Friday 31 July 2020: Just six months back, no one, not even the reputed French astrologer Nostradamus could have predicted that our lives in a matter of months, would literally be flipped upside down and turned inside out. Due to the virus, the negative impact on society, be it financial, mental, or social is truly unprecedented. COVID 19 in one way or another has impacted each and every one of us globally. Since the nationwide lockdown in March, it is estimated that over 140 million informal workers have lost their livelihoods and close to 75% of these are small-scale traders and laborers from different parts of the country whose challenges will be further aggravated if the situation persists. It’s time to get India to Move For Good! 


 Procam International, India’s leading sports IP creator today announced the largest citizen led movement dedicated in support of livelihoods - Sunfeast India Run As One. This is a first-of-its-kind digitally supported active participatory event, to encourage purposeful fundraising from within India and across the world. The initiative is aimed at providing support to vulnerable sections of society who have been distressed and have lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic. Registrations begin on 1st August and the movement will commence on 15th August 2020.  

 Being the 74th year of Independence Day, Sunfeast India Run As One has set itself a lofty goal to cover the total distance between Kashmir to Kanyakumari 74 times. The intent is to demonstrate the power we all have within us to make an impact and help support livelihoods #LivelihoodsMatter. 

 With no geographic or physical barriers, people across the world can participate in this movement. Walk, Run, Jog; or cover kilometres on a wheelchair; every registration will support livelihood opportunities of a person. Participants can register at a nominal fee starting at Rs. 99 upwards, basis their choice to contribute and further pledge to walk, run or jog for the cause. Donations can be made beyond the registration fee towards maintenance of lost livelihoods in the wake of the pandemic. Corporates can register employees for participation as a group. Individual and group fundraising is also made possible with the creation of fundraising pages on their profiles. For more details log on to: sunfeastindiarunasone.procam.inSunfeast India Run As One strongly urges participants to ensure that they follow guidelines issued by their respective state and centre, while ensuing their daily activities.  

 To give this nation-wide movement a fillip, India’s leading biscuits and snacking brand, ITC’s Sunfeast biscuits will champion this social impact movement. Sunfeast India Run As One rests on the robust pillars of a collective community initiative which is delivered through every day acts like walking, running, jogging keeping one positive and energized through the day. Sunfeast India Run As One has further tied these efforts to make a difference to the lives of all the needy and distressed people who have been adversely impacted due to unforeseen circumstances. The core ethos of the brand finds its synergies in the movement with the amalgamation of bringing positivity to the world as a community which is energetically driven to make the world a better place together.

 Speaking on the occasion, ITC’s Sunfeast spokesperson, Ali Harris Shere, Chief Operating Officer - Biscuits and Cakes, Foods Business Division, ITC Limited said, “At ITC Ltd, with our credo of Nation First, Sab Saath Badhein, we are committed to contribute to socially relevant causes that will benefit vulnerable sections of society. We, at Sunfeast Biscuits are proud to present the Sunfeast India Run as One; a holistic initiative which empowers individuals to positively impact the lives of millions in our country in the wake of this unprecedented situation through daily activities like walking, running, jogging etc which in turn will be beneficial for their health. Our world has seen the worst of times, but collectively we can endeavour to bring some cheer by providing help and support to the people who need it the most during these trying times”.

 “As India looks to revive itself from the ongoing global pandemic, we through ‘Sunfeast India Run As One’ are making an earnest effort of reviving the lives of marginalized communities across India by mobilising citizens and well-wishers from around the world to come together in a collective act of giving, for real social impact. We are immensely grateful to Sunfeast for partnering with us to bring this vision to life. Our sincere gratitude to the unstinted support from all our partners and GiveIndia and the Fit India Movement for their faith in this initiative.  

 Sunfeast India Run as One, is not about kilometres or medals, but taking that first step of participation which will have a positive impact on society. We urge every Indian to come forward and put their shoulder to the wheel and do their bit by registering; cause #Livelihoods Matter” stated, Anil & Vivek Singh, Procam International.  

 Speaking of Fit India’s association with Sunfeast India Run as One, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri. Kiren Rijiju said. "At a time like this, staying fit and building immunity is of utmost importance for everyone. The Fit India Movement envisioned by our Honourable Prime Minister and launched in August 2019, has contributed greatly in creating awareness among the masses to take up fitness as a way of life, especially during the pandemic. The nation-wide Fit India events organised in the last one year, like the Plogging Run, Cyclothon, Fit India Week have garnered massive participation, as have the online fitness sessions organised by Fit India since the lockdown. 

 Speaking on the Sunfeast India Run As One initiative, Film Actor Rahul Bose expressed, “Sunfeast India Run As One is a massive step in the right direction. The genius of this initiative is that you don't have to run, you just have to register. This will help a person who may not be able to provide for her child's education, it will help a person who might be close to starvation. This initiative will be very close to all of our hearts. I cannot think of any initiative in the last four months that molds sport, running, fitness and the pressing needs of India today and it will be a tough act for anybody to follow.” 

 “The fact that Sunfeast India Run as One involves all of India is very important. When we create an event like this then we can get people to believe that they can do something for the betterment of the people of our country. The belief that we can do it together is something that I feel will come out very strongly through this initiative. Even a small step in this initiative will make a huge difference,” said Fitness Enthusiast Milind Soman

 This initiative is Powered by India’s largest and most trusted giving platform, GiveIndia. The social impact pillar will benefit micro-entrepreneurs, farmers, migrant workers, LGBTQIA+ communities, differently abled, tribal communities, athletes, sportspersons and much more. ₹7,000 can help a family suffering income loss due to the Covid crisis sustain for a month. It can also act as seed money to support skills training, operational set up and guidance to regenerate livelihoods.   

 "We are super excited to be partnering with Procam International for Sunfeast India Run As One, a first-of-its-kind virtual event, encouraging individuals and organisations to participate and raise funds for an extremely pertinent cause - livelihoods. The distress levels created by the economic fallout of the pandemic is huge and has put 140 million informal sector workers at risk of falling into deep poverty. Through our COVID missions, our NGO partners have been working tirelessly to support these communities. This event will boost their impact exponentially. On a personal note, I am a long-distance runner and have participated in several marathons. However, this movement calls on every one of us – so not just me, but my entire family will participate. Thank you Procam for the opportunity!" - Ashok Kumar ER, President, GiveIndia 

As India enters a new era of consumer protection, ASCI resolves 221 complaints of misleading ads in May

.      Healthcare was a major concern with several spurious claims about cures and preventions of COVID-19

·      With the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, in force, ASCI hopes to collaborate with the Central Consumer Protection Authority and strengthen its bond with other government departments

Mumbai July, 30, 2020: In May 2020, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) investigated complaints against 251 advertisements, of which 23 were promptly withdrawn by advertisers. ASCI acted against 222advertisements on a suo motu basis and its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld 209cases.

Of the complaints, other than those against the withdrawn advertisements, the CCC evaluated 228 advertisements. Complaints against 221 were upheld. Of these, 162 belonged to the healthcare sector47 to educationtofood and beveragesto personal care and10 to other category.

As the lockdown was enforced across India, several advertisers, especially in healthcare, made false claims about COVID-19 cures and preventions. The Ministry of AYUSH sought help from ASCI to alert it about such advertisements. In the months of April and May over 100 such cases were flagged to the regulator.

This period also happened to be the run-up to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, coming into force on July 20. The law marks a new era of consumer rights in India, providing for jail terms and steep fines for errant marketers. Welcoming it, ASCI is hoping to collaborate with the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) for effective co-regulation.

The CCPA, it has been announced, will be headquartered in New Delhi and its members have been named. We are delighted with how fast the government is moving on this matter and we welcome the newly-named CCPA members.

ASCI already has a successful MoU with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA). It hopes to work closely with the CCPA on advertising codes and complaint redressal.

In 2015, ASCI and the DoCA tied up to launch the Grievance Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA) initiative, a portal on which complaints against errant advertisements could be lodged. ASCI manages the back end, judging every complaint received as per its codes. When advertisers do not assure compliance, it is escalated to the regulatory authority. Since the launch of GAMA, ASCI has looked at over 15,500 complaints on the portal. This is a perfect example of co-regulation.

Rohit Gupta, Chairman of ASCI, said: “We believe in the effectiveness of co-regulation – essentially self-regulation acting in alignment with government laws and guidelines. The new law is a tremendous opportunity for the advertising industry and brands to raise their standards even higher and to put the consumer firmly at the centre of their efforts. It paves the way for advertising that is more informative and honest while introducing serious disincentives for violators.”

As an advertising self-regulator, ASCI has succeeded over the past 35 years to establish and maintain consumer trust in advertising, acting swiftly and effectively against misinformation. With the new law in place, ASCI is strengthening its monitoring mechanism by including digital media in it. Its National Advertising Monitoring Service already tracks potentially misleading ads nationally for suo motu action.

On the impact of COVID-19 on the advertising industry in general and ASCI in particular, Gupta said: “The past four months have been extremely challenging as we got familiar with virtual processes of monitoring advertisements and the functioning of the CCC. All teams are now well aligned to ensure smooth processing and timely action.”