The Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992 was enacted with a view to protecting and promoting breastfeeding and ensuring proper use of infant foods. During the course of implementation of the provisions of the enactment over the years, it has been found that some aspects have led to difficulties, which need to be clearly spelt out. The recent developments and findings of international agencies as well as researchers have revealed that ideally, the infant thrives best on exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, as well as continued breastfeeding together with complementary foods for the first two years. The World Health Organisation by World Health Assembly Resolution No. 47.5 dated the 9th May, 1994 called upon all Member Nations to aim at achieving this goal. The said resolution, inter alia, required Member Nations to foster appropriate complementary feeding practices for the infants from the age of about six months and encourage continued breastfeeding as well as proper feeding with safe and adequate amounts of local foods until the infant attains the age of two years.
2. In order to review and suggest appropriate amendments in the said Act, the Department of Women and Child Development constituted a Task Force comprising of representatives from various Ministries and Departments of the Central Government and Voluntary Agencies authorised under section 21 of the Act. The National Commission for Women has also considered the provisions of the Act and suggested certain modifications therein.
3. Taking into consideration the recommendations of the said Task Force and of the National Commission for Women and the difficulties being experienced in the implementation of the provisions of the Act, it has become necessary to amend the existing provisions so as to encourage continued breastfeeding and to prohibit all forms of advertising and promotion—light, sound, smoke or gas or by means of electronic transmission by audio or visual transmission in relation to infant milk substitutes, feeding bottles and infant foods.
4. The Bill seeks to achieve the aforesaid objects.