Several key ministries, including the Finance, Corporate Affairs and Policy Commission, have opposed the draft e-commerce regulations tabled by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
According to Grant Thornton, inter-ministerial disagreements could force the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to reconsider the rules, delay a possible decision and continue uncertainty for the region, which is expected to grow to $ 188 billion by 2025.
The finance ministry has expressed concern that the regulations could adversely affect the sector, which generates a large number of jobs. However, receiving feedback after the deadline did not address the ministry’s concerns as part of the consultation process.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has said the rules should not interfere with competition issues, the source said.
The finance ministry wants the rules not to hinder the fast-growing sector, which has attracted large investments.
The draft rules proposed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs proposed to regulate flash sales with high concessions and made it mandatory for e-commerce entities to register with DPIIT while discounting in ET and mortar stores. It was proposed in the rules to make e-commerce entities liable in case of default from the seller as well as to change some definitions as compared to some existing FDI policies.
The proposed changes to India’s e-commerce rules by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs have been met with criticism from companies since they were announced in June.
The policy commission has said the rules are outside the realm of consumer protection.
Earlier, in response to proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, the think tank had pointed out that issues related to competition, law enforcement, mediation liability and data protection did not fall within the department’s purview. Consumer affairs and related ministries should have the capacity to handle these complex issues and details.
While the government wants to protect grocery stores, it cannot do so by tampering with other laws in the name of consumer protection, a senior government official told ET.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, however, denied that there were any differences between the stakeholders.
“Internal discussions among various stakeholders, including government agencies, are a hallmark of a mature and healthy decision-making process. There is nothing wrong or disturbing about anyone else’s opinion, “said an official spokesman. The spokesman added, “We want a set of best workable rules for both consumers and businesses.”
According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the draft e-commerce rules were made open to public consultation so that they would be stronger and based on the input received, they would be fixed in due course. Anand Market