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Government mulls regulator for e-commerce: Report


The government is drafting a new policy to regulate e-commerce firms and increase compliance, and also ensure that the firms including social media platforms respond quickly to information sought by the authorities, a Reuters report said.

Under the new policy, the government plans to set up a regulator, who will be empowered to seek any information from the companies and penalise them in case of failure of compliance with the new policy.

“The policy will also mandate an e-commerce company to supply within 72 hours information sought by law enforcement agencies,” the report quoted a source as saying.

The government is also said to have consulted stakeholders, including e-commerce firms, over the proposed policy.

Our queries seeking comment to the Commerce and Industry Ministry, Flipkart, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter in this regard did not elicit a response till the publication of the report. We will update the post when they do.

The new policy is expected to add to compliance worries for e-commerce firms if implemented.

Besides, the government is already examining allegations of anti-competitive practices against these firms, Commerce and Industry Ministry Piyush Goyal had said last month.

The report comes amidst timeline uncertainty over the release of the national e-commerce policy. However, there is no clarity over whether the new policy will be separate from the national e-commerce policy that is already under consideration.

On March 18, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had informed the Lok Sabha that since e-commerce is a new issue, no date has been fixed for the release of the national e-commerce policy.

The government has already collaborated with various ministries including the MeitY, Consumer Affairs Ministry and DPIIT to draft the national e-commerce policy.

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