Govt begins stakeholder consultation for reworked draft ecommerce policy

Govt begins stakeholder consultation for reworked draft ecommerce policy
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15 Mar, 2021

The government has invited ecommerce entities as well as industry bodies for consultation on the reworked draft ecommerce policy. 

The government held an inter-ministerial meeting to discuss the draft policy on Saturday, followed by rounds of consultations with ecommerce companies on Monday. Discussions with industry associations are planned later this week, sources with knowledge of the developments, told TechCircle

A copy of the draft, available in the public domain, was reviewed by TechCircle. The draft makes it mandatory for ecommerce entities to register with an authority identified by the government, apart from giving the Standing Group of Secretaries on e-commerce (SGoS) the responsibility to address challenges to the policy due to the inter-disciplinary nature of ecommerce.  

The policy also requires all ecommerce operators to ensure equal treatment of sellers on the platform and has asked the ecommerce platforms to ensure that the algorithms used by them does not prioritise one seller over the other.  

The platforms will also have to make sure that no discrimination or digitally induced bias creeps into the algorithm impacting customer’s choice on the platform.  

The draft has made provisions for anti-piracy and elimination of counterfeit products on ecommerce platforms by specifying seller traceability. 

TechCircle had earlier reported that the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had initiated stakeholder consultations to rework the draft ecommerce policy first released in February 2019.  

Separately, in a letter addressed to the cabinet secretary dated March 15, All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA), an industry body claiming to represent over 3,500 sellers across online marketplaces, said that it was not made party to any of the stakeholder discussion by DPIIT.  

Another trader’s body, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), in a statement, said that it welcomed DPIIT’s move to hold consultation on FDI policy in ecommerce.