The Ministry of Ayush has asked the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to proactively identify false advertisements. This is a move to curb misleading claims through advertisements of traditional systems of medicine such as ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha and homeopathy and to penalize violators. 

The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy is abbreviated as AYUSH. 

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"We have entered into an MoU with ASCI to effectively weed out such advertisements so that consumers are protected from unscrupulous manufacturers selling products making false claims. This is vital for the propagation of Ayush system of medicine within India and beyond," Ayush ministry secretary Ajit Sharan said. 

The ministry's partnership with the ASCI comes in the wake of rising reports of unsubstantiated advertisements that violate the country's Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, which prohibits claims related to the cure, treatment or prevention of diabetes, cancer, asthma and obesity, among others.

The ASCI, which generally depends on individual complaints to process such advertised claims, will now monitor these advertisements across 900 publications and 500 TV channels.

"ASCI has been given a self-monitoring mandate by the Ministry of Ayush to identify potentially misleading advertisements in the AYUSH sector and process complaints through its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC)," according to a statement from the advertising industry watchdog.

In the recent years, as such unsubstantiated claims increase through advertisements, the government has stepped up its efforts to encourage research on traditional systems of medicine to establish the scientific validity of various healthcare claims. 

"The arrangement would ensure that any advertisement making claims for diseases and disorders, in violation of the notification issued by our ministry for indications that have been prohibited from claiming, are immediately brought to our attention," Sharan said.

Additionally, the partnership also requires the ASCI to report such violations and recommend punitive measures to the ministry for any further action.