E-commerce firms, traders and consumer bodies applauded the government’s move to come up with a draft e-commerce policy which covers crucial issues such as data storage, infrastructure development, marketplace rules and regulatory bottlenecks among others.
“It was much desired since a long time as the e-commerce business was greatly vitiated by e-commerce global players,” said Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
“The draft policy’s categorical rejection of inventory based e-commerce model must be followed by the effective implementation of FDI norms to ensure marketplaces do not own or control inventory, directly or indirectly. The recognition of data as a strategic national asset is well-timed and will lead to the development of required regulation in this regard,” said a Snapdeal spokesperson.
The draft policy issued on February 23 has stressed upon the need for e-commerce companies to construct a registered business entity in India in order to comply with the norms.
As per the draft, e-commerce companies will also be mandated to disclose the seller details such as their names, addresses and contact numbers. Sellers will also be required to provide an undertaking to the platform about genuineness of products.
The trade mark (TM) owners will also be given the option to register themselves with e-commerce platforms. Whenever a trade-marked product is uploaded for sale on the platform, the platform shall notify the respective TM owner.
“We are delighted to see the inclusion of all its recommendations related to consumer issues like counterfeiting, online reviews/ratings, sale of prohibited items and customer service in the draft e-commerce policy” said Sachin Taparia of Local Circles.
However CAIT also pointed out that the draft hasn’t stated any specific guidelines for domestic e-commerce companies which was “undesirable”. “They should also be brought under the policy,” it said.
Comments on the draft are sought from the stakeholders by March 9. This is around the same date that the Election Commission is expected to announce the dates for the crucial Lok Sabha elections this year.
It will be interesting to see how long does it take the government to finalise the policy.