As a nation, India has a problem with colourism, where we are constantly tormented by fairness ads and products that promise to make us more ‘attractive’ (read whiter) with absolutely no medical or scientific backing. After years of obsessing over ‘fair’ skin, it looks like India is finally ready to forgo the stereotypes and take a step in the positive direction. 


In order to ban advertisements that promote such false claims, the government has proposed to amend the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. This amendment will ban all fairness and weight loss promoting ads. 

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According to MoneyControl, the draft bill prepared by the government, states that it could slap a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment up to five years on brands that make such claims. This umbrella includes advertisements promoting pharmaceutical products for fairness of skin, deafness, improvement of height, hair loss or greying, obesity, and others. The draft has also expanded from just visual advertisements. 

The Print
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.

The draft of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 also proposes a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh and up to two years’ imprisonment in the case of first offence. And in the case of a subsequent conviction, imprisonment may extend to five years and the fine, up to Rs 50 lakh.


The Ministry stated that the bill will be forwarded within 45 days. However, Twitter is already buzzing with the news. 

It’s refreshing to see the government take a step like this in a society that is constantly obsessing over ‘fair’ skin and discriminates against the rest.