Consumer affairs ministry likely to finalise e-commerce rules in November

By: |
October 27, 2021 8:15 AM

The feedback received are under consideration and meetings have been continuing to finalise those rules, Nandan told reporters.

ecommerce, flikart, amazonDPIIT in July this year, announcing the advisory council, had said that the ONDC is expected to “digitize the entire value chain, standardize operations, promote inclusion of suppliers, derive efficiencies in logistics and enhance value for consumers."

The consumer affairs ministry is likely to finalise the draft e-commerce rules next month, official sources said even as secretary Leena Nandan refused to divulge any details. It is not clear whether the ministry will remove some controversial rules like ban on flash sales. There have been objections by many e-commerce companies to some provisions of the draft rules that could derail the growth in this sector.

The feedback received are under consideration and meetings have been continuing to finalise those rules, Nandan told reporters. The department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) and the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) had also expressed their reservations and flagged some anomalies. DPIIT has suggested the duties of sellers be aligned with the framework in draft National E-Commerce Policy such that sellers don’t distort the market. It is not clear, though, how distortion will be defined.

Earlier, the finance ministry had found the e-commerce draft rules to be ‘excessive’ and ‘without economic rationale’ and raised about a dozen objections, according to a Reuters report. Niti Aayog has also reportedly expressed apprehensions that the draft rules may harm ease of doing business.

A key proposal is one that seeks to make the e-marketplace liable for the failure of a seller to fulfil any orders in the requisite manner. Indeed, holding the marketplace responsible for the actions of entities — thousands of them — that are not under its control is unreasonable, experts said. The draft rules disallow flash sales that offer high discounts and attractive deals.

The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, were first notified in July last year. However, the consumer affairs ministry released draft e-commerce rules for public feedback in June by proposing a lot of changes.

Meanwhile, Nandan also said that the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued 217 notices to sellers on e-commerce platforms for violating consumer protection rules and collected Rs 42.85 lakh from 76 companies in compounding of offences during the past year. She did not disclose name of any seller.

Majority of the notices were sent to sellers of electronic appliances for displaying incorrect Country of Origin about the products. The other violations included charging more than MRP, non-declaration of MRP and non-standard units.

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