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Policy Wrap: Cab aggregators wait for modified motor vehicles bill; govt panel seeks ban of cryptocurrency in India

Policy Wrap: Cab aggregators wait for modified motor vehicles bill; govt panel seeks ban of cryptocurrency in India
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Ola may be covered under central rules. Chinese imports may attract 50% duties.

Motor vehicles amendment bill will regulate cab aggregators

The Lok Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2019 earlier this week to replace the 30-year old transportation laws. The bill now awaits approval from the Rajya Sabha. 

Apart from imposing strict penalties for violations, the bill also opens provisions for the centre to frame laws to regulate cab aggregators like Uber and Ola. 

The bill seeks to formulate a national transportation policy in consultation with state authorities, which will include guidelines for use of electric vehicles, cab aggregators and shared mobility.

The policy is being opposed on the grounds as transport is a state subject regulated by the transport corporations.

Each state has its own laws around cab aggregators and shared rides with states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu banning bike-taxis whereas the service is legal in 14 other states.

Committee formed to examine ecommerce FDI norms

Following up on the discussions in June, a committee under the chairmanship of the additional secretary of the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) was formed to examine issues related to foreign direct investment (FDI) in ecommerce. 

The committee includes representatives from the department of commerce, department of consumer affairs, department of legal affairs and ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). 

In a stakeholder meeting chaired by the minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal on June 25, the minister had asked ecommerce companies to submit their concerns and grievances to the committee which will review the same and submit its suggestions.

The meeting was attended by top executives of Flipkart, Amazon, Swiggy, Zomato, Snapdeal and ShopClues

Panel asks govt to ban cryptocurrency

A government panel, chaired by Subhash Garg, former secretary of the department of economic affairs, has recommended banning cryptocurrency and introduction of official digital currency or ‘digital rupee.’ 

The report recommends the use of ‘distributed ledger technology’ (DLT) by RBI, SEBI and other regulatory bodies for creating secure infrastructure and new technology products.

While the report recommends banning private players from dealing in cryptocurrency, it does not prohibit the use of underlying technology. Also, the inter-ministerial committee formed in 2017 did not mention any meetings with industry players operating in the space before framing its recommendations. 

Garg has applied for voluntary retirement due to the latest bureaucratic reshuffle.

Only critical data to be housed in India as per revised draft data protection bill

The draft Personal Data Protection Bill, in its current format, will require companies to only store critical data of users in the country, news reports said, citing government officials. The draft categorises part of personal data as ‘critical’ which is required to be stored and processed on servers within India. The bill is expected to be tabled in the ongoing session of Parliament, which has been extended by 10 days. 

Cross-border shipments to attract 50% duties

Cross-border e-commerce shipments will attract 50% in combined integrated goods and services tax and custom duty at the time of placing the order, The  Economic Times reported.

The move was being considered to prevent exploitation of the ‘gift’ channel for imports, the report said.

Earlier this month, citizen engagement platform LocalCircles had written to Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs to enforce laws at all ports to prevent the misuse of gift channel for import of products by Chinese e-commerce firms like ClubFactory, SheIn, AliExpress and others.

The letter also proposed a flat duty of 42.5% on the purchase of products from cross-border platforms.

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