Economy

Ministry to carry out fresh consultation on e-commerce policy

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on August 11, 2018 Published on August 11, 2018

File Photo of Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu.   -  BusinessLine

Commerce Minister to review draft once prepared

The Commerce Ministry will carry out a fresh round of consultations with stakeholders to address concerns raised by many on the proposed e-commerce policy and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu will review the draft once it is prepared.

“The Ministry had received few concerns regarding the draft e-commerce policy following which CIM @sureshpprabhu has directed officials to conduct another round of consultation with stakeholders to address them. The Minister will personally review the draft once it is prepared,” a tweet from the Commerce Minister’s official twitter handle stated on Saturday.

Suggestions

The draft e-commerce policy suggested by the taskforce on e-commerce was criticised by many online players for suggesting introduction of a sunset clause for offering deep discounts to customers. As per the proposal, the clause would define the maximum duration of differential pricing strategies implemented by e-commerce companies.

It also proposed that the restriction on e-commerce marketplace to not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods and services, be extended to group companies of the e-commerce marketplace.

Another suggestion, frowned upon by foreign investors such as Amazon and Walmart, is for promoting sale of domestically-produced goods by allowing limited inventory-based B2C model, wherein 100 per cent Made in India products will be sold through platforms whose founder/promoter will be a resident Indian, the platform company will be controlled by Indian management and foreign equity will not exceed 49 per cent.

Some in the industry are also not happy with the proposal on data localisation, with the task-force proposing that the data generated by users in India from various sources including e-commerce platforms, social media and search engines should be stored exclusively in India and a framework must be developed for sharing the data within the country.

“The Commerce Ministry will go through all objections raised and examine the validity or arguments raised against certain proposals. It will then see what changes are to be made in the draft policy. The Commerce Minister will take a final look at the draft before it is put online for public comments,” a government official told BusinessLine.

The e-commerce policy being framed by government seeks to define e-commerce without ambiguity, strengthen foreign direct investment laws on the sector, address regulatory and competition issues and take care of consumer issues including data protection and privacy.

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Published on August 11, 2018
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