Matrimonial websites: India

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WCD’s norms: 2016

The Times of India, May 30 2016

Himanshi Dhawan

WCD outlines strict norms for matrimonial websites

Matrimonial websites may soon have to keep access logs of people's profiles even a year after the account has been deactivated. Other precautionary steps likely to be taken include users being asked to provide identity documents and websites having to verify users' claims and issue advisories on possible misuse. These are some of the provisions in the draft guidelines for matrimonial websites outlined by the ministry of women and child development (WCD) under Maneka Gandhi.

The guidelines, formulated in conjunction with the ministries of information technology , home affairs and National Commission for Women, are likely to be notified soon. According to a 2013 Assocham report, the country's online matrimony business is expected to grow at 65% to become a Rs 1,500 crore industry by 2017.

The study noted that between 2012 and 2013, about 50-55 million online subscribers registered their profiles while 2.5 million uploaded their profiles per month to take advantage of this facility mainly on account of it being economical and less cumbersome.

However, along with the increasing popularity , cases where people, espe cially women, have been duped have rapidly escalated. Sources in the ministry said many women were blackmailed and cheated out of money on false promises by men who were treating the site as a forum for dating.

“We received a large number of complaints indicating that online matrimonial sites or mobile applications were not doing enough to create awareness about these fraudsters, a source said.

New provisions are likely to be added in the terms and conditions of the existing user agreement between the IT ministry and the websites stating that the users must confirm that they will use the online platform only to enter into a matrimonial alliance and that the information provided is correct.

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