Piyush Goyal says no timeline fixed to rollout e-commerce policy since this is a ‘new issue’

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Updated: March 16, 2020 6:01:10 PM

Piyush Goyal said the government has already received comments on the draft policy from 120 stakeholders including businesses, industry associations, think tanks, and foreign governments.

The e-commerce policy aims to regulate the Indian e-commerce segment that is valued upwards of 38.5 billion dollars. (Image: PTI)

Commerce and industry Piyush Goyal informed Parliament that for the national e-commerce policy, the draft for which was out in February last year by the DPIIT and while the final policy is expected to be out this year, “no timeline has been fixed for finalisation of the same,” the minister said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha earlier this month. Goyal added that the government has already received comments on the draft policy from 120 stakeholders including businesses, industry associations, think tanks, and foreign governments but “since this is a new issue, it has necessitated detailed consultations over the last few months to ensure that the policy is drafted in a manner that interests of all stakeholders are taken into account.” The policy aims to regulate the Indian e-commerce segment that is valued upwards of $38.5 billion and has Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart as its leading players.

However, in June last year, a government official had said that an institutional framework has been put in place to bring out the e-commerce policy in 12 months, PTI had reported. Later in December 2019, DPIIT secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra had told the news agency that both the e-commerce and new industrial policies are likely to be ready by the end of the current financial year.

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According to a startup survey last year, 74 per cent of respondents sought the government to set-up a separate data policy from the e-commerce one. “This has what come up in the survey to have a separate data policy so that the e-commerce policy can cover all e-commerce aspects like counterfeiting, online views, ratings, cross border e-commerce, marketplace, etc. Then your data policy also gets broader to apply to all businesses including telcos, banks, insurance companies, healthcare, social media, offline retail etc,” Sachin Taparia, Founder and Chairman LocalCircles had told Financial Express Online.

Following the February 2019 draft e-commerce policy, the Department of Consumer Affairs had come out with the draft Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules, 2019 and then the consumer protection guidelines for e-commerce companies were issued in August. All three broadly look at ensuring legitimate business practices by e-commerce players related to the pricing of goods, payment information, sellers’ details, storage and use of customer data, counterfeit products etc.

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