Means to monitor use of data and threats from foreign competition were some of the key aspects of discussion in a meeting conducted by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Monday.
The meeting involved representatives from Indian e-commerce and technology companies as well as their foreign counterparts. It discussed ownership norms and sharing of data and key strategies on anti-competitive practices by e-commerce companies including predatory pricing and threat from large foreign companies, according to a statement from the Department of Commerce.
These aspects were also a part of the Press Note 2 which came into effect on February 1 and prohibits marketplaces from controlling prices of products being sold directly or indirectly.
Stakeholders who attended the meeting included representatives from Amazon, eBay, Walmart-backed Flipkart as well as technology majors such as Facebook, Google and Dell. It was also attended by secretaries from the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, RBI Deputy Governor BP Kanungo and senior officers from the Ministry of External Affairs, among others.
The statement said that Goyal discussed with representatives of the foreign technology firms issues such as the increase in costs and efficiency losses due to data localization, and monitoring the use of data from the lens of privacy, security and other aspects.
The agenda also included a discussion on gains and cost of cross-border flow of data. While the draft e-commerce policy included a significant section on data localization, the IT ministry's Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 deals with the issues of cross-border flow of data and its categorization for localization. The RBI had also instructed payment system providers to store payments data solely in India.