The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) is expected to give a fresh start to formal inter-ministerial discussions on ecommerce policy.
DIPP will put out a draft for the public discussion covering more than 15 issues relevant to the sector after these discussions. However, it will stay clear of the heated discussions on FDI issue so that proposal can be firmed up on other issues, according to the media reports.
After the draft ecommerce policy was made public in August this year, the department of commerce had started consultations on the policy, but that had run into interministerial differences as many departments and ministries saw the consultations exceeding the commerce department’s brief.
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In September this year, the government set up a group of secretaries to look into the issues related to draft ecommerce policy chaired by the secretary in the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP). Later, the government transferred the ecommerce policy to DIPP in October.
Inc42 analysed a few debatable pointers in the proposed ecommerce policy framework:
– It suggests the creation of a government-aided ecommerce platform to promote micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
– Ecommerce marketplaces will no longer be allowed to offer deep discounts through their in-house companies listed as sellers
– The draft Bill recommends a sunset clause on discounts to prevent platforms from directly or indirectly influencing the prices of goods and services
– It seeks to give more control and power to the founders of ecommerce businesses, rather than investors
– An online retailer/marketplace should not be allowed to influence the price or sale of products/services — a move that can completely restrict e-tailers from giving discounts
– Adopt a common ecommerce definition for domestic policy-making and international negotiations
– Granting preferential treatment and imposing customs duties on etransmission to digital items created in India
The time could not be more right for India to finalise its ecommerce guidelines. The Flipkart-Walmart deal, which was finalised in May this year, created repulsions between the different stakeholders of the ecommerce ecosystem including sellers, seller governing bodies and even local and foreign players in the country.
With Flipkart getting acquired for $16 Bn and increased dominance of foreign players like Amazon plus the rise of locals like Snapdeal, Shopclues, Paytm Mall among others, have put the Indian ecommerce on the global charts, as a market touted to be worth $200 Bn.
Further, other South East Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand among others are pacing up their ecommerce market development. Indonesia already released its ecommerce guidelines in November last year.