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Govt extends deadline for responses to draft e-commerce policy

Govt extends deadline for responses to draft e-commerce policy
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

The central government has extended the deadline for submitting responses to the draft national e-commerce policy from 9 to 31 March even as ownership of data and its economic value emerged as the main talking points at the second stakeholder meeting held by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

The draft e-commerce policy, which was made public in February, addresses multiple issues including data storage, brand licensing by marketplaces and their liability on checking sale of counterfeit products.

The meeting was attended by representatives of e-commerce entities Amazon, Snapdeal, ShopClues and MakeMyTrip. Others who attended the meeting were officials from industry bodies including National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci). Also, representatives from Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), IT for Change, and IndiaTech participated in the discussions.

In the meeting, some stakeholders said that for a holistic view both data and e-commerce policies should be reviewed together and not as disparate parts.

Others demanded a separate policy governing data collected by e-commerce and another for online commerce.

CAIT, which represents small online traders, demanded the formation of a regulatory authority for e-commerce. Representatives from MakeMyTrip and IndiaTech re-iterated their demand for the permanent establishment of global companies which operate in India, citing issues of taxation and data privacy.

“The government was in a listening mode. It is good that they have recognised the economic data as part of this policy, which the personal data protection Bill does not do,” said a representative of an online portal on the condition of anonymity.

However, another industry body representative pointed out discrepancies between the e-commerce draft policy and the draft of data protection Bill, especially on aspects of community data. “The draft e-commerce Bill states that community data being collected by businesses is linked to an individual, which the data Bill does not. These issues have to be ironed out,” said the industry representative.

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