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Data Protection, Privacy To Form Core Of Draft Ecommerce Policy: Report

Data Protection, Privacy To Form Core Of Draft Ecommerce Policy: Report

The policy will also focus on developing India’s position in global trade negotiations

The revelation comes in at a time when international trade rules for ecommerce sector is in the works

Earlier ecommerce draft had suggested storing personal and community data on Indian servers

Data protection, localisation, cross-border data flows and privacy will reportedly form the core of the upcoming ecommerce policy. The policy will also focus on developing India’s position in global trade negotiations.

Last week, senior officials from Ministry of Commerce had said that the ecommerce policy is almost ready and will be announced soon.

According to an ET report quoting sources, the earlier ecommerce draft had also suggested that personal or community data collected by “Internet of Things” devices in “public space” should be stored only in Indian servers.

Last month, minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, had announced that the central government will be listening to the suggestions made by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), however, the ecommerce policy guidelines will be finalised by the government.

At a time when a group of 76 countries including US, European Union, China, Japan, Australia and Singapore are working to come up with trade rules for the ecommerce sector, the Department for Promotion of Investment and Internal Trade (DPIIT, formerly known as DIPP) has said that the policy has its focus on India’s interest in World Trade Organization.

The draft ecommerce policy was first made public in August 2018 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry which was aimed at promoting the domestic players and ensuring a level playing field.  The new ecommerce guidelines are also looking to develop the manufacturing sector, promote foreign technology transfer and attract foreign investments.

In order to maintain fair competition among the companies, the new ecommerce rules also prohibit the etailers from providing deep discounts through their in-house companies listed as sellers.

However, recently it was reported that the DPIIT may not include setting up of a sector regulator as it was mentioned earlier. However, the department clarified that it will continue to include the recently updated changes in FDI policy which have affected the business of global ecommerce companies such as Amazon and Flipkart.

Citing unnamed sources, a media report has said that India’s ecommerce policy will be significant for the sector as nearly half of the WTO member countries may opt for text-based negotiations on global ecommerce rules.

At a time when the FDI guidelines in ecommerce policy led global ecommerce players Amazon and Walmart to lose $50 Bn in market capitalisation, together, the new ecommerce draft with a major focus on domestic players may restrict their growth further in the country.

[The development was reported by ET]