Published On: Sun, Sep 9th, 2018

Govt sets up panel of secretaries into look e-commerce issues

New Delhi: With concerns being raised on some proposals of the draft e-commerce policy, the government has set up a group of secretaries to look into the issues, according to an official.

Government has appointed DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek as the head of the panel that has been tasked with looking into all the issues of e-commerce sector.

The group will be chaired by the secretary in the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP).

The other members of the group include secretaries of the ministry of electronics and information technology and department of commerce.

Representatives of Niti Aayog and department of economic affairs are also members of the group.

“The group would look into all the issues of e-commerce sector,” the official said. The first meeting of the group is likely to be held this week.

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu last month tweeted that he had received few concerns regarding the draft e-commerce policy following which he directed officials to conduct another round of consultation with stakeholders to address them.

The initial draft e-commerce policy has suggested several steps to promote the growth of the fast growing sector.

It said online retail firms may have to store user data exclusively in India in view of security and privacy concerns.

The draft stated that any group company of an online retailer or marketplace may not be allowed to directly or indirectly influence the price or sale of products and services on its platform, a move that could completely restrict e-tailers from giving deep discounts.

The draft has also suggested introduction of a pre-set timeframe for offering differential pricing or deep discounts by e-commerce players to customers.

Further, the draft recommended permitting 49 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in inventory-based business-to-customer e-commerce model. Currently, FDI in such businesses is prohibited and it is allowed only in the marketplace model.

The department of industrial policy and promotion has reportedly ruled out FDI in inventory-based e-commerce.

Besides, it discussed about adopting a common definition of e-commerce for the purpose of domestic policy making and international negotiations as currently there is no commonly accepted definition.

In the context of international trade negotiations, policy space for granting preferential treatment and imposing customs duties on e- transmission to digital items created in India will be retained.

PTI

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