Ease of doing business for MSMEs: Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Wednesday requested commerce minister Piyush Goel for early rollout of e-commerce policy, e-commerce rules under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and a new Press Note to replace Press Note No 2 of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail. CAIT said the policy measures are keenly awaited by traders “since they are facing great harassment at the hands of foreign e-commerce companies (such as Amazon, Flipkart, others) and an uneven level playing field because of predatory pricing, exclusivity and owing inventory.”
The government had first put the draft of the e-commerce policy in the public domain back in February 2019 for public consultations and suggestions from various stakeholders. However, the policy hasn’t been notified and implemented yet.
Currently, the e-commerce sector is governed by multiple acts including Consumer Protection Act, 2019; Competition Act, 2002; Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017; Information Technology Act, 2000; Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007; Companies Act, 2013; Copyright Act, 1957, etc. Moreover, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy and Foreign Exchange Management Act, of 1999 contain provisions related to FDI in India’s e-commerce sector.
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With respect to the e-commerce rules, which specify the duties and liabilities of sellers on e-commerce marketplaces and inventory-based e-commerce entities including consumer grievance redressals, the Department of Consumer Affairs under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 had notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules in July 2020.
However, e-commerce companies sought further revision in the rules over the definition of an e-commerce entity, banning flash sales, etc., in June 2021. The final version of the rules is yet to be released by the government.
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CAIT National President BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal further said that no substantial FDI is entering into India through the e-commerce route and instead whatever money routed under the guise of FDI is used for cash-burning or to support huge losses incurred by global e-tailers.
CAIT also appealed for provisions prohibiting flash sales, market-distorting discount offers, making e-commerce marketplaces responsible for the quality of the products sold, misselling of goods and services, equal treatment of all sellers registered on their platforms, etc.
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