The consumer protection rules of the e-commerce policy that is in the works will be harmonised with the consumer protection rules for e-commerce framed under the Consumer Protection Act in 2020, a senior official said Thursday.
“Talks are happening (on harmonising rules) and discussions are at a fairly advanced stage,” secretary in the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Rajesh Kumar Singh said here.
“While doing so, we will try to ensure that whether a regulator or some other way… rules that will ensure that the customer is the king,” he added.
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Once the draft e-commerce policy is finalised it will be put up for public comments.
Speaking on the government-backed Open Network for Digital Commerce initiative, Singh said it seeks to democratise the e-commerce sector in the country and the government wants all e-commerce players to be part of the business.
“There would be no funding or special tailor made rules to promote the platform,” he said when asked whether ONDC will get.support that other digital public good UPI got.
In the recent reports of deep discounting by ONDC, Singh said rates are set by the seller and ONDC has no role in it.
“Intention is not to create a price war and kill anybody,”T Koshy ONDC CEO who was also present at the press conference said.
After the noise around discounts by ONDC, limits have been put on the number of transactions on which promotional prices can be offered and amount of incentive that can be offered. Discounts have been capped at `75 per transaction for the first 1,000 transactions in a day.
He said the effort of ONDC is to help small entrepreneurs grow and for that handholding is being provided like trained manpower to get merchants on board.
ONDC is a network enabler and not a platform, and therefore it has systematically worked towards adding more network participants, merchants, cities and transactions (orders per day) to the network, Koshy said.
ONDC has also added mobility in Kochi, in January and in Bengaluru in April, which has seen a jump to over 35,000 rides a day from these two cities.
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At the same time, other domains like fashion, beauty and personal care, electronics and appliances were added since January this year, and are gradually expanding.
The number of retail merchants on ONDC have increased from around 800 in January this year to more than 35,000 as of now, while the number of orders during the period increased from 50 per day to a peak of 25,000 per day in May, Koshy said.
ONDC has expanded its geographic footprint, with the number of cities with merchants present, having increased from 85 in Jan to more than 230 now.