Companies

Exempt cab-hailing, travel, gaming firms from e-commerce policy: IndiaTech.org

Yatti Soni Bengaluru | Updated on July 23, 2021

IndiaTech.org, an industry body representing Indian start-up founders and investors, has recommended exemption of cab-hailing, travel, gaming, insurance and similar sectors from the ambit of the draft e-commerce policy, which was open for public consultations till July 21.

The association argued that these companies are already closely governed by the regulations in their respective sectors and may also have separate regulators. IndiaTech’s founding members include Ola, Hike, MakeMyTrip and Steadview Capital Management.

“While the intent of the Ministry is clear, which is consumer protection and is in alignment with that of the industry, the proposed amendments can cause certain conflicts with various existing regulations by other ministries that may impacts all e-commerce models across sectors,” said Rameesh Kailasam, CEO of IndiaTech.org.

He added that the rules transgress from consumer welfare into various domains such as FDI, trade, competition, personal data protection, data sharing, related party, aggregator guidelines, insurance etc. which technically do not fall under the ambit of consumer protection and have been adequately addressed by other laws, regulators and ministries.

Clarity sought

IndiaTech has also asked for regulatory clarity for small businesses that have started online operations after the pandemic. Increasing compliance requirements will reduce their ease of doing business and might even create practical challenges for them.

“The proposed amendments also cover by default, several ‘smaller’ entities, who would also be subjected to all the burdensome and onerous obligations and restrictions in these amendments merely due to their online presence, which was necessitated by the pandemic,” said Kailasam.

Various research groups have also raised similar concerns on the draft e-commerce policy and recommended that the government have differential compliance requirements for business depending on their size and revenue.

The e-commerce policy draft has proposed compulsory company registration with DPIIT (Department of Promotion of Industry and Trade), appointment of an India-based grievance redressal team, and fall-back liability for companies failing to deliver consumer orders or causing loss to the consumers, among other things.

Published on July 23, 2021

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