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Draft Ecommerce Policy May Be Introduced In Next Few Weeks

Draft Ecommerce Policy May Be Introduced In Next Few Weeks

The new policy aims to boost the sector, promote exports and ensure fair play

It will also have provisions for sector regulator

Govt recently notified changes in FDI for ecommerce

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) may soon announce a new draft policy for ecommerce in a few weeks.

Media reports citing sources said that the new policy will have a provision for a sector regulator and would help boost the sector, promote exports and ensure fair play.

On Wednesday (December 26), the commerce and industry ministry notified changes in foreign direct investment rules for the ecommerce sector prohibiting ecommerce marketplaces from selling products on its platform in which they own a stake.

The circular will come into effect from February 1, 2019.

The new proposed guidelines have caused an industry-wide uproar due to a clause which may prevent ecommerce players from having exclusive sellers. “Ecommerce marketplace entity will not mandate any seller to sell any product exclusively on its platform only,” the latest circular said.

The new proposal has been discussed heavily and various stakeholders have been raising their concerns, while others have been supporting the changes.

Global ecommerce player Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart may be the most affected by the new draft as both operate as online marketplaces partnering with large online vendors such as Cloud Retail, Appario and WS Retail.

DIPP had earlier discussed issues related to gifts from overseas, logistics industry as well as exports during the discussions on the draft ecommerce policy. It had also held discussions on payment gateways, ways to control the sale of counterfeit products through online platforms, and facilitating logistics for the sector.

The draft ecommerce policy was made public in August by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. However, the policy draft faced resistance from many departments and ministries, which felt that the recommendations exceeded the commerce department’s brief.

Suresh Prabhu, union minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, later set up a new interdisciplinary panel to look into the feedback and comments made by ecommerce stakeholders on the draft.

The new policy will seek to curb deep discounting policies by ecommerce players which various online sellers and offline brands have protested for long. With the new ecommerce policy expected to come in to effect soon,  2019 will see big changes in the ecommerce sector in the country.