Govt plans single regulator to oversee e-commerce sector

E-commerce frame work

To regulate e-commerce industry in India, the government is planning to set up a single regulator to look after issues related to the sector.

The Draft National Policy Framework on online commerce, which aims to weed out legal fragmentation, has suggested some measures including data storage, mandating the govt-backed Rupay payments and enhancing participation of small and medium enterprises in e-tail, said Reuters report with a claim to have seen the document.

The draft majorly looks to create even playing field for the e-commerce companies, Indian or foreign and to ensure a niche for the MSMEs, women and artisans in the eco-system. It could be a 2-yr sunset period for industry to adjust before localization becomes mandatory; to ease environment for e-commerce enterprises to raise funds domestically.

In a series of tweets, Reuters reporter Aditya Kalra tweeted the development.

In recent past, online sellers community had alleged that e-commerce firms are violating existing marketplace rules, creating non-level playing field and concern on FDI policies, of the govt.

Earlier in April, during the first meet related to the matter, govt has announced that it will bring a framework for a national policy on online commerce by October.

The constituted think-tank discussed aspects of e-commerce and the digital economy like physical and digital infrastructure, the regulatory regime, taxation policy, data flows, server localisation, FDI, technology flows, skill development and trade-related aspects.

For a long time, the issue of deep discount and irregularities had been raised by small players in this space. Indian Cellular Association (ICA) and Retailers Association of India (RIA) had also raised the issue of FDI violations by the major e-tailers in India.

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.

On Monday, Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu is expected to chair the second meeting of the think-tank on e-commerce.

The think tank includes officials from ministries of commerce, finance, home affairs, corporate affairs, and electronics and information technology, among others, besides representatives from telecom, IT and e-commerce firms including Bharti Enterprises, Reliance Jio, TCS, Wipro, Ola, Snapdeal, MakeMyTrip, Urban Clap, Justdial, PepperFry and Practo along with industry associations.

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