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Govt national e-commerce policy likely to miss year-end deadline


Indian government national e-commerce policy that was due to be released by the end of this year is set to miss its deadline again.

The policy, which is supposed to clear regulatory concerns, related to the video stream, ride-hailing and e-commerce services, is still stuck at discussion level and needs clearance from multiple ministries before finally being released.

It looks like the e-commerce policy might come out only next year, said a Business Standard report quoting govt sources privy to the development. Only after discussions with multiple ministries, the final document will be out, it added.

The is not the first time policy is facing a delay.     

In June, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had after meeting with top executives of e-commerce firms including Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon said that the govt would bring out national policy on e-commerce within 12 months.

The MeitY, DPIIT and the consumer affairs ministry had started working on framing rules to regulate e-commerce companies.

The govt had also asked e-commerce firms to submit details of their shareholding, subsidiaries and business structures, among others though they did not comply.

Earlier in February, the Centre had published the draft national e-commerce policy proposing some changes and conditions for e-comm businesses. It broadly barred e-tailers from selling products via vendors in which they have equity, and from allowing sellers to sell exclusively on their platforms.

It also prohibits vendors from buying more than 25% from group companies of online platforms.

Soon after the release, some of the e-comm firms raised concerns over the draft policy. US retail marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart had to tweak their business strategies. They also raised concern over data localisation rule. The US govt had asked India to ease the data-localisation law.

The draft policy came into effect in February after SMEs complained against non-level playing field in the segment due to predatory pricing exercise by e-comm marketplaces.

India e-commerce space offers close to around 80 million SMEs huge opportunity to turn the country a digital economy.

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