The Commerce and Industry Ministry has turned down a proposal of the Consumer Affairs Ministry to bring e-commerce sector under the purview of nine different departments saying it would create problems for the investors.
“Department of Commerce wants that the e-commerce subject should be handled by only one centre point and if the Consumer Affairs Ministry is ready for that they have no issues,” a senior official told PTI.
According to the proposal of the Consumer Affairs Ministry, the sector should be handled by nine departments and regulatory bodies including the RBI, Home Ministry, the department of revenue and and Corporate Affairs Ministry.
Rejecting the proposal, another official said the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) also wants that the Consumer Affairs Ministry should take care of the issues related to e-commerce “as nine different departments would create problems for investors”.
Currently, most of the consumer related disputes and complaints about the e-commerce sector are dealt by the department of consumer affairs.
However, the consumer affairs department has suggested that e-commerce involved complex issues like foreign investment and inter-state sale of goods through portals and hence the different aspects should be regulated by all the departments concerned.
The official said that the matter would be discussed at high level meeting of Committee of Secretaries soon.
The e-commerce trade is growing at a rapid pace and there is uncertainty about its regulations. Expressing serious concerns over huge discounts being offered by e-commerce firms, traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) too has asked the government to take steps to monitor and regulate online businesses.
As per estimates, the sector’s market size in the country was around USD 5 billion annually.