Draft E-comm Policy: Govt Extends Feedback Submission Deadline

Giving some more time to e-commerce companies, the government has extended the date for feedback submission on the draft policy on e-commerce by three weeks.

Now, all e-commerce firms operating in the country have time till March 31 to submit their feedback. The relaxation comes in the wake of a demand by these companies for a separate policy on data with easier sharing norms.

At a stakeholder discussion with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Amazon, Snapdeal, Microsoft, MakeMyTrip, RIL and eBay have raised their concern to come up with a broader policy by including traders and buyers as well as retail trade and banking under the same umbrella.

While industrial bodies such as CII, FICCI, and CAIT also attended the meeting, Google, Facebook and Walmart did not participate in the consultation.

As expected, the data localisation factor was the centre of discussion. For instance, Microsoft emphasised that the restrictions on cross-border data flow, India’s innovative AI startups could be hurt.

On the other hand, e-commerce major Amazon said that the policy must not only focus on restricting the sale of counterfeit products online because these products can be pushed via offline channels.

One of the apt suggestions in this regard came from the online community platform LocalCircle. According to the company’s founder Sachin Taparia, the policy should be handled by two departments – DPIIT and MeitY.

Apart from e-commerce, the splitting of policy will cover all businesses including telecom, banks, and retail trade added Taparia.

It was the first meeting after the 40-page draft policy released by DPIIT on February 23. The draft covers half a dozen issues related to electronic commerce including data, infrastructure development, regulatory concerns, marketplaces, among others.

To have a powerful voice for safeguarding their interest, around 10 e-commerce firms including Snapdeal and ShoClues and some consumer brands are planning to form a lobby group – The E-commerce Council of India.

Reacting on another lobby group, traders body CAIT’s general secretary said that it is a futile exercise to pressurise the government to bring the policy to their advantage.―Entrackr

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