The government today said that the new draft e-commerce policy it is working on will be out in a few weeks. The announcement was made by a government official without disclosing the launch date. The official added that the policy will also focus on increasing exports and explore the need for a regulator to govern the e-commerce sector.
“Sometime back I was of the view that it is good to have a regulator but there have been strong counter views. If we think we need a regulator, we will keep it in the (draft e-commerce) policy,” the official added.
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The announcement comes a day after the government modified the FDI rules in online retail barring e-commerce companies from selling products of companies that are related to them along with a limit on goods to be sold by a single vendor. The changed guidelines, effective from February 1, 2019, are also against any preferential treatment given by e-commerce companies to any particular seller or brand.
“It is a clarification of Press Note 3 of 2016. Our job is to ensure fair trade and not discrimination. These are all fair market and good competitive practices. The more competition in the market, the more will be the fairness and it is good for trade,” the official said.
In cases of norms being flouted by e-commerce companies, the official said that it would be under the domain of enforcement directorate to take action.
“We are not saying that this is the be-all and end-all which will ensure that it (policy) is done but these things will make price influence more difficult.”
Snapdeal’s co-founder Kunal Bahl had yesterday welcomed the changes to the FDI policy in a tweet. “Snapdeal welcomes updates to FDI policy on e-commerce. Marketplaces are meant for genuine, independent sellers, many of whom are MSMEs. These changes will enable a level playing field for all sellers, helping them leverage the reach of e-commerce.”