Vendors express concerns over exclusion in panel drafting national e-com policy

Online vendors

The issues of e-commerce vendors with marketplaces or e-tailers are far from over. But, the situation appears worse even the government stops paying heed to the woes of the troubled online vendors.

Early this month, the central government established a think tank to craft policies about digital trade as well as chalking out holistic domestic policy for e-commerce companies and help them in cross-border trade.

The entity involves all the relevant government as well as private stakeholders, including deputy governor from the RBI, ministries of finance, NPCI, Airtel, Jio, Paytm, Snapdeal and others.

However, the most important link to e-commerce — vendors, which form 75 per cent of the business, is missing from the policy panel.

The All-India Online Vendors’ Association (AIOVA), a group of 3,500 vendors, has expressed disappointment to the commerce department for not getting a representation on the think-tank, according to ET.

We would like to inform you that we are the largest group which will be affected by the outcome of any decisions taken. We also request you to treat our matter as ecommerce of goods and marketplace selling,” said the letter addressed to the commerce secretary.

Importantly, this is not the first time, when vendors have been totally sidelined by the government.

Last month, talking to the media, AIOVA said the e-commerce players are still offering heavy discounts on private label products and there is no such level playing field between online marketplaces and online sellers. So, the association decided to raise the issues with the government.

Despite writing to various government departments such as Niti Aayog, DIPP, CCI and Commerce and Finance Ministry, raising serious concerns in the e-commerce segment, the government didn’t pay any heed.

“We are not entertaining any sellers’ plea or prayers such as stuck payments, technical issues, frauds and many other things as we have realised that we cannot do anything apart from shouting about these issues to deaf ears,” the association then said.

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