Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and senior officials from Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and Consumer Affairs Ministry held consultations with representatives of top e-commerce companies and consumer rights bodies on Wednesday. The meeting focused on aligning the proposed e-commerce policy with e-commerce rules for consumer protection, sources said.

“The government is likely to put up a draft of the new e-commerce policy that will be aligned with consumer protection rules in about two weeks time,” a senior industry representative, who attended the meeting told businessline.

Companies that attend the meeting included Meesho, Flipkart, Reliance, Amazon, Tata, Snapdeal, Shiprocket and Zomato. Representatives from traders body CAIT also attended the consultations. The Secretaries from DPIIT and Consumer Affairs were both present.

Discussions took place on issues such as clear distinction between the marketplace and inventory model of e-commerce, ensuring compliance with regulatory measures, achieving inclusive growth by encouraging SMEs to adopt digital technology and enhancing exports through e-commerce, sources added.

No discussions around FDI in the e-commerce sector took place in the meeting which could indicate that the basic rules around foreign investments would be unchanged, the source added.

“It is remarkable that under the guidance of the Minister and deep efforts made by Consumer Affairs Ministry and DPIIT, a unanimity is arrived between all stakeholders about basic pillars of e-commerce policy and rules. Bringing divergent opinion on same page was a gigantic task which has been done by both Ministries,” said CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal.

One of the main points of discussion was the need to ensure that the e-commerce policy clearly distinguishes between the marketplace and inventory model so that there is no room for confusion, sources said. While FDI is allowed in e-commerce only for the marketplace model where owners cannot sell their own products, there are instances where some companies in the marketplace model have allegedly flouted existing rules to sell their own products on the platform.

“Consumer interest should be first and foremost and no back door loopholes should be allowed. Policy and rules must be followed by one and all. All e-commerce companies must obtain mandatory registration with  DPIIT. Marketplace should act like a marketplace both in letter and spirit,” said Khandelwal.