The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the ministry of commerce will release the draft ecommerce policy, which will lay down the ground rules for online trade and address gaps in overall digital commerce policy. The ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution will release the draft ecommerce rules aimed at ensuring consumer interest is protected.
“Bringing out both (policy and rules) at the same time will ensure greater synergy and more clarity for the industry,” said one of the people cited.
‘Ecommerce Sector may Grow to $188 b by 2025’
Both departments have released drafts in the past that were not in tandem with each other and had created confusion for businesses.
The latest draft of the policy by the DPIIT is expected to focus on setting up a regulator, framing an ecommerce law, and penalties for violations. It will cover all ecommerce companies – Indian as well as foreign-funded ones.
“This will be a comprehensive policy for all ecommerce companies operating in India,” said one of the persons cited above.
The earlier draft of the ecommerce policy had mainly laid down principles for usage of data for development of the industry by Indian and foreign-funded companies to prevent misuse and access of such information.
In June, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs released draft ecommerce rules for public consultation. They sought to bar affiliated entities from selling on ecommerce platforms, as well as restrict flash sales. That was opposed by top industry groups and didn’t find favour with the finance and corporate affairs ministries, as well as the government’s public policy think tank, Niti Aayog.
However, the latest version is expected to cover all ecommerce firms – Indian and foreign-funded – and focus more on safeguarding consumers.
The ecommerce sector is expected to grow to $188 billion by 2025 from $64 billion in 2020, according to estimates by accounting and advisory firm Grant Thornton.
The online retail sector – one of the country’s biggest job creators – has faced flak from small traders and offline retailers for alleged predatory pricing, preferential treatment for related parties and flouting of several regulations.