Government plans to come out with draft e-commerce policy
After months of delays, the government plans to come out with the draft e-commerce policy which is expected to spell out comprehensive guidelines for all online transactions, covering all digital commerce and service providers, including marketplaces.
Officials from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) have virtually met those from top e-commerce companiesin the country including Amazon and Flipkart, trade bodies such as the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), among others to discuss the proposed e-commerce policy and varied issues.
Reliance has called for tighter regulation of marketplace e-commerce platforms to ensure such websites treat all sellers equally, Reuters quoting sources reported.
The wire service said Reliance told officials that India needed special regulations to ensure "non-discriminatory" treatment of sellers on marketplace websites.
While India's biggest retailer, with more than 12,000 stores, expanded its e-commerce operations in recent years, Reliance still lags market leaders Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart, both of which it counts as key rivals.
Traders body CAIT has been seeking tighter regulations on marketplace e-commerce and the provisions of Press Note 2 of the FDI Policy have been continuously violated by foreign funded e-commerce firms right under the nose of the Government and no action has been taken against them so far.
Also they have alleged that marketplace like Amazon and Flipkart give preferential treatment to select big sellers in which they hold discreet financial or business interests.
CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal, who attended the meeting, called for an “unambiguous” e-commerce policy setting up a regulatory authority in the e-tail space.
In a statement, the traders’ body said he flagged violations of foreign direct investment (FDI) laws by foreign-funded companies and called for mandatory registration of each commerce entity operating business activities, mandatory and strict KYC norms for the sellers and a clear distinction between marketplace and inventory model of e-commerce platforms.
Khandelwal said he strongly advocated for mandatory registration of each commerce entity operating business activities in the Country, mandatory and strict KYC norms for the sellers, clear distinction between marketplace and inventory model of e-commerce platforms, check on sale of prohibited items, He also argued that all goods traded or services provided through any digital mode including social media platforms, social commerce, Whatsapps groups etc must be covered under the definition of e-commerce.
He claimed that the e-commerce companies attending the meeting merely said that they have made a note of the concerns raised in the meeting and will submit their views in writing to the DPIIT.