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E-commerce rules in other countries stricter than India, says Govt

The companies should look at other jurisdictions and how demanding they are before raising concerns about the rules in India, the government said in a virtual meeting to marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart-owned Flipkart and over a dozen other domestic and foreign companies as they demanded an extension to send their response on the proposed Consumer Protection (Ecom) Rules, according to sources privy to the development.

The meeting which was chaired by Nidhi Khare, additional secretary of consumer affairs, took place on Saturday evening while the remarks were made by Anupam Mishra, joint secretary.

Amazon in its presentation is learnt to have said that the proposal which was issued on June 21 was confusing and had some inconsistency seeking extension of the deadline which ends on July 6.

Indian conglomerate Tata Group which was also present in the meeting said some of the rules could have huge ramifications on its operations and may restrict the sale of its private-label products.

The proposed rules cover both domestic and foreign companies running operations in India.

Some of the trade bodies present also demanded more time preferably till the end of the month arguing that they had not yet received responses from the members.

All the major industry bodies including FICCI, CII and Nasscom were in attendance at the meeting.

The meeting was called by Invest India the government’s investment promotion and facilitation agency.

While the government asked the companies to send their responses “earliest” by June 6, the companies Moneycontrol spoke to said they were optimistic that the deadline would be extended.

With the new set of drafts, the government is trying to ensure that consumers do not get a raw deal while purchasing products online.

However multiple clauses such as not listing “related parties” as sellers or not using “information” collected through their platforms have rattled the companies. These proposals are likely to have major impacts on the arrangements with which they were running their operations in India so far.

Of late the government seems to be in a tiff with the e-commerce companies. In a recent remark, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said leading e-tailers were flouting laws of the land adding that many of their practices were against the interest of consumers and these new sets of rules are drafted with an aim to protect consumer interests. Moneycontrol

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