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Online vendors

Govt sets up inter-ministerial group to discuss e-commerce issues

Online vendors

To discuss the issues related growing e-commerce sector, the government has set up an inter-ministerial group.

Union Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that the e-commerce sector is growing rapidly and the country should have a framework for the sector.

“A lot of ministries are involved in this discussion and so is the industry involved. There is some discussion on this,” Teaotia was quoted as saying by the PTI report. Though, she did not set the deadline for coming out with recommendations.

Earlier, last week the government said that its think-tank body would chalk out holistic domestic policy for e-commerce companies to leverage existing situations in cross-border trade.

Besides commerce and industry ministry, the entity also involves other government as well as private stakeholders such as a deputy governor from the Reserve Bank of India, ministries of finance, home affairs, corporate affairs, NPCI and electronics and information technology. Telecom majors including Airtel and Reliance Jio and e-commerce companies such as Paytm, MakeMyTrip, Snapdeal and Practo amongst several others are also the part of it.

Local policy for e-commerce companies is the need of the hour as over 70 countries who are the part of World Trade Organisation (WTO) have been discussing aggressively on e-commerce driven cross-border trade. So far, India has been keeping itself out from discussing rules on e-commerce at WTO.

Meanwhile, Consumer Affair Ministry is also conducting surveys to draft new rules for e-commerce firms to make them more accountable for products sold on their platforms and the use of consumer data. The ministry, to frame the Consumer Protection Act 2018, is taking inputs through surveys from consumers as well as from the industries to arrive at balance rules.

At present, according to RedSeer Consulting, India’s online shopping industry is estimated to grow at 60 per cent to about $28.5 billion in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV) in 2018. Around 20 million people in the country shop online on a monthly basis, it added.

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