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Govt issues guidelines for social media influencers

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Social media influencers and celebrities will face a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh, which can go up to Rs 50 lakh on repeat offence and even lead to a ban of up to six years, on violation of guidelines for them, which were released by the consumer affairs ministry on Friday.

Also Read: On J&K soil, Congress says Article 370 revoked in an ‘undemocratic way’

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Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told mediapersons, while releasing the guidelines, that the whole issue is centred around consumers’ right.

“It is the responsibility of the endorser, celebrities and influencers or other advertisers to truthfully disclose whatever information the consumer must know before making any decision for purchase,” the guidelines said.

Singh further said social media influencers should disclose the nature of their endorsements.

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“Individuals or groups who have access to an audience and the power to affect their purchasing decisions about a product, brand or service because of the influencer’s authority, knowledge, position or relationship with their audience,” the guidelines said.

Influencers are defined as creators who advertise products with a strong influence on the decisions or opinions of their audience. Virtual influencers, which are defined as fictional computer-generated people with realistic features of humans, are also required to disclose their endorsements, the guidelines said further.

The department noted that, “When there is a material connection between an advertiser and celebrity/influencer that may affect the weight or credibility of the representation made by the celebrity/influencer.”

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These material connections include monetary or other forms of compensation, free products, contests and sweepstakes entries, trips or hotel stays, media barters, coverage and awards, or any personal, family or employment relationship, the rules note.

The influencers should be able to substantiate the claims made by them. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 provides the framework for the protection of consumers against unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.

Also Read: In J-K, paid Pvt tuitions of students from classes 1st to 8th shows 5 % increase

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The product and service must have been actually used or experienced by the endorser, the ministry said, adding that consumers can seek legal actions against those defaulting.

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National

Thieves posing as telecom workers steal 29-feet-tall mobile tower

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In a continuing series of outrageously bizarre thefts in Bihar, a 29-feet-tall mobile tower has now been reported stolen by thieves allegedly posing as telecom workers in Patna, times network reported.

Also Read: Avalanche hits Bandipora’s Tulail village

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Installed over a house in Sabzi Bagh in 2006 by now-defunct mobile service provider AIRCEL, it was sold to GTL Limited – a company that manages telecom towers.

Company officials discovered the structure was missing during a recent inspection of mobile towers after previously finding it intact in August 2022, according to India Times.

Police, who filed an FIR against the unidentified suspects based on area manager Mohammad Shahnawaz Anwar’s complaint, said the homeowner had requested removal of the tower after non-payment of rent.

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“Initially, the GTL company removed part of the equipment. After that, another team came and removed all the equipment,” explained Sabih-Ul-Haq, SHO of Pirbahore police station.

However, this time, they weren’t real telecom employees.

Also Read: One-way traffic restored on Sgr-Jmu highway

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“When the company officials enquired about the incident, the house owner informed that some persons who claimed to be employees of GTL company came here four months ago and removed the tower,” said the officer.

“They [the thieves] gave the excuse that the tower had a massive technical glitch and would be replaced by a new mobile tower. Then, they loaded the equipment on a truck and took off.”

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National

HM Amit Shah reaches Jammu, will leave for Rajouri to meet Dhangri attack victim families

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The Union Home Minister Amit Shah has arrived in Jammu and is scheduled to leave for Rajouri to meet the families of those killed in militant attack in Dhangri village on January 01.

Also Read: Snowfall hits traffic at Srinagar airport, 25 flights cancelled

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Official sources told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that Shah reached Jammu today afternoon and will leave for Rajouri.

He said he is scheduled to meet the families of those killed in a militant attack in Dhangri village on January 01.

The official also said Shah will review the security situation in the district and will also a meet with senior civil and police official later in the day.

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Notably, seven civilians were killed after militants attacked several houses in Dhangri village of Rajouri district on January 01.

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Middle East

1.75L Indians to perform Haj in 2023; highest in history

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In a significant move, Saudi Arabia increased the Haj quota for India for the year 2023 where a total of 1,75,025 Indian Haj pilgrims will be able to perform Haj, reportedly the highest in history.

Also Read: Bijbehara woman’s death triggers protest at MCCH Anantnag

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This announcement comes as part of a bilateral agreement signed between both countries on Monday in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabian Haj and Umrah deputy minister Dr Adelfattah bin Suleiam Mash and Indian Consul General Md. Shahid Alam signed the agreement at the former’s office in Jeddah.

The highest quota for India was in 2019 when 1.4 lakh pilgrims performed the holy pilgrimage. In the following year, the number was reduced to 1.25 lakh, however, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Haj was cancelled that year.

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In 2022, Saudi Arabia welcomed 79,237 Indian pilgrims for Haj.

During the Congress-led UPA rule, the highest quota was 1,26,018 in 2010.

Noted poet and Jnanpith awardee Prof Rehman Rahi laid to rest in Srinagar

Due to quota constraints, many optimistic Indians were left out of the draw system across the country, however, with the highest-ever quota, more Indian pilgrims can perform Haj this year and shrinking the waiting time and widening draw chances.

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There was no mention of the cost, however, depreciating the Indian rupee against the US dollar in addition to various cost factors in holy cities, this year, costs are expected to go up.

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