The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is seeking inputs from a slew of ministries and government agencies to build consensus on and hasten the launch of regulations to govern all forms of electronic commerce in the country, people in the know told ET.
At a recent meeting, attended by representatives from Reserve Bank of India, India Post and the ministries of electronics & IT (MeitY) and consumer affairs, DPIIT officials discussed the proposed regulation, the first draft of which was released in February 2019. The DPIIT outreach aims to ensure the ecommerce proposals do not clash with other upcoming legislations, government officials said.
Personal and non-personal data policies, the consumer protection bill and various taxation policies are in the works that affect online commerce, social media and internet companies in India.
“The process is on and some issues have also been identified,” said a senior government official, who confirmed the recent meeting between various government stakeholders but declined to specify the suggestions made.
Other senior officials directly engaged with the drafting of the ecommerce policy did not reply to ET’s queries on the development.
Meanwhile, industry executives told ET they expect the second draft of the proposed ecommerce policy will likely include clauses to regulate the functioning of online marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart while carving out benefits for local ecommerce players– where over 51% of ownership is Indian. It could also look to incentivise flow of local capital into India’s burgeoning internet commerce space.
Other specific regulations could include restrictions on bulk purchase of smartphones, white goods, electronics and fashion products by related party sellers on ecommerce marketplaces, people aware of the development said.
“The setting up of a regulator for the ecommerce sector is also on the cards, which is bound to face resistance from companies,” said a senior executive at a leading ecommerce company.
The discussion on the second draft policy comes almost twenty months after the government released the first set of proposals. Last month, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash, in an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), had said that the ecommerce policy and several other trade policies were being finalised, and that the government would extend support to the ecommerce and retail industry through its policies.
Other senior industry executives that ET spoke to also said that the upcoming ecommerce policy will likely provide guidance on data localisation, consumer protection, directives to boost digital payments and ecommerce exports. It could also include restrictions on ecommerce imports.
ET has also learnt that discussions to promote digital transactions online, especially among smaller sellers, have also been held. Since the release of the first draft of the ecommerce policy, several regulations around protection of consumers on ecommerce platforms, personal data protection and non-personal data policies have already moved forward. “This has put some pressure on the DPIIT to release the second draft of the policy soon,” a second government official said.- The Economic Times