The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has initiated a probe into 20 IAS coaching centers for allegations of deceptive advertising and unfair trade practices. These practices involve the use of toppers’ and successful candidates’ names and images to influence prospective aspirants. As part of this investigation, CCPA Chairperson Nidhi Khare announced that four of these centers, namely Rau’s IAS Study Circle, Chahal Academy, IQRA IAS, and IAS Baba, have each been fined ₹1 lakh.
Notices have been served to various other institutes, including Vajirao & Reddy Institute, Khan Study Group IAS, APTI Plus, Analog IAS, Shankar IAS, Sriram’s IAS, BYJU’s IAS, Unacademy, NEXT IAS, Drishti IAS, IQRA IAS, Vision IAS, IAS Baba, Yojana IAS, Plutus IAS, ALS IAS, Rau’s IAS Study Circle, and Dhishti IAS.
Khare highlighted that notices had been issued in the past 18 months due to the deliberate concealment of vital information about successful students. While penalties have been imposed on four centers, investigations are ongoing for the remaining cases.
Khare emphasized that several coaching institutes tend to embark on extensive advertising campaigns following the announcement of UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam results. However, on average, only about 900 students out of over 10 lakh aspirants clear the UPSC exam annually.
She pointed out that the 20 institutes claimed a significantly higher number of selections than the UPSC recommendations, raising concerns about the accuracy of these claims. Khare further noted that multiple coaching institutes may attribute the same rank holder as their student while concealing vital information. Successful candidates might have received coaching from different institutes for various subjects, but the institutes claim success once these students pass the UPSC.
Khare stressed the importance of clear disclosure of the courses undertaken by successful students with a specific institute. Without such transparency, prospective aspirants may enroll in prelim coaching at an institute that lacks a strong track record, wasting both time and money.
According to CCPA, the coaching industry in India generates a current market revenue of around ₹58,088 crore. Approximately 2 lakh students migrate to Kota in Rajasthan every year for coaching, and Delhi is often considered the epicenter of UPSC-CSE coaching. Disclosure and transparency in coaching claims can help mitigate deceptive practices.