Govt gears up for draft e-commerce policy; asks companies to submit concerns in 10 days

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Published: June 18, 2019 1:24:12 PM

In a statement Tuesday, the ministry said that e-commerce industry representatives also flagged their concerns about the draft policy which they felt was not adequately consultative.

The issue was discussed during a meeting between the minister and representatives of e-commerce and technology industry here Monday. (PTI Photo)The issue was discussed during a meeting between the minister and representatives of e-commerce and technology industry here Monday. (PTI Photo)

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has asked e-retail companies to submit their concerns pertaining to the draft e-commerce policy of the government within 10 days. The issue was discussed during a meeting between the minister and representatives of e-commerce and technology industry here Monday. In a statement Tuesday, the ministry said that e-commerce industry representatives also flagged their concerns about the draft policy which they felt was not adequately consultative.

“The Commerce Minister assured the e-commerce industry representatives that each and every concern of the industry will be addressed and for that the minister requested representatives to send their concerns in writing to the DPIIT within 10 days,” it said. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is an arm of the ministry which deals with the issue. All the companies also raised concerns related to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) data storage requirements and processing related guidelines. On this, Deputy Governor of RBI B P Kanungo, assured the industry to look into the issues.

Further, Secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Ajay Prakash Sawhney assured e-commerce companies that the Data Protection Bill will reflect all the consultations that had taken place with the industry during the formulation of the bill. “The principles of data protection and privacy were discussed at length in the meeting and industry representatives requested the minister to ensure that the bill will have more clarity around classification of data and the manner of cross border flow of data. The minister assured that MeitY will address this concern too,” it said. Goyal stated that MeitY and National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) may deal with the concerns of companies that build products in India and store their data in the country.

The meeting holds significance as the ministry is in the process of finalising a national e-commerce policy. Multi-national firms have raised concerns over certain provisions of the draft policy. The draft national e-commerce policy has proposed setting up a legal and technological framework for restrictions on cross-border data flow and also laid out conditions for businesses regarding collection or processing of sensitive data locally and storing it abroad. The meeting was attended by government officials from the ministry, RBI, Ministry of External Affairs, besides reprensentatives of ecommerce and IT companies.

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