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No Proposal For Independent Regulator In Proposed E-Commerce Policy: Official

The proposed national e-commerce policy is in the final stages and no new draft will be issued now to seek the views of stakeholders

No Proposal For Independent Regulator In Proposed E-Commerce Policy: Official
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal
POSTED ON September 26, 2023 3:13 PM

The proposed e-commerce policy, which is under formulation, has no provision for setting up of an independent regulator for online retail platforms, a senior official said. 

The official also said regarding data related issues, the e-commerce firms have to comply with the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act and the proposed policy will not cover that area. 

The proposed national e-commerce policy is in the final stages and no new draft will be issued now for seeking views of stakeholders as that exercise has been completed by the ministry. 

"The ministry has to give a presentation of the proposed policy to the prime minister's office. There is no plan to set up any regulator for the sector, at least not in the near future. As of now, it is not on the anvil," the official, who did not wish to be named, said. 

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on August 2 held a detailed discussion with representatives of e-commerce firms and a domestic traders' body on the proposed policy. 

In that meeting, a broad level of consensus emerged among the concerned stakeholders on the proposed policy. Earlier the ministry had issued two draft national e-commerce policies. 

The 2019 draft proposed to address six broad areas of the e-commerce ecosystem -infrastructure development, e-commerce marketplaces, regulatory issues, stimulating the domestic digital economy, and export promotion through e-commerce. 

The draft talked about measures to contain the sale of counterfeit products, prohibited items, and pirated content; and reviewed the current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions in light of the changing digital economy. Besides, it had suggested provisions on promoting exports through e-commerce. 

The proposed policy would take into account the interests of all stakeholders, like investors, manufacturers, MSMEs, traders, retailers, start-ups, and consumers, another official said. 

The government is also in the process of framing consumer protection rules for the sector. Broadly the intention is to make the policy work along with the consumer protection rules and not in conflict with each other. 

Domestic traders' body CAIT has time and again demanded roll out of the policy as they had alleged that foreign online retailers violate norms of the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in commerce and the government should take action against those who are indulging in malpractices. The DPIIT is also working on a national retail trade policy. 

Domestic traders have suggested that a regulatory authority be set up to monitor and regulate e-commerce trade in the country. 

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