Draft e-commerce policy: Govt likely to extend deadline for feedback

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A spokesperson of All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) also said the deadline has been extended till the end of the month.

Heeding the demand of some stakeholders, the DPIIT will likely extend the deadline for submission of feedback on the new draft e-commerce policy to March 31 from March 9. Around a dozen and a half stakeholders — including Amazon, Ola, Uber, Microsoft and Net Flix — met senior officials with the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) on Friday on the policy that has proposed to regulate cross-border data flows, among others.

The meeting, chaired by DPIIT additional secretary Shailendra Singh, also saw the participation of associations like The Confederation of All India Traders.

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The government had on February 23 released a new draft e-commerce policy that provided for regulating cross-border data flows, setting up storage facilities locally and establishing a data authority to devise a framework for sharing data. The new policy has also suggested that all e-commerce websites and applications available for downloading in India “must have a registered business entity in India as the importer on record or the entity through which all sales in India are transacted”. Analysts have said many Chinese small-time e-commerce players have been supplying to Indian consumers without an office here.

Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of CAIT who attended the meeting, said the association has emphasised on setting up a regulator for e-commerce sector.

CAIT said all domestic players that don’t have foreign investments should be brought under the purview of the e-commerce policy (just like those having foreign investment). Also, cab aggregators Ola and Uber should also be treated as e-commerce players and brought under the policy.

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A spokesperson of All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) also said the deadline has been extended till the end of the month. An AIOVA member said the association has submitted suggestions to DPIIT and requested it to form a committee to receive problems of the industry as the current policy delivers nothing for sellers.

AIOVA had earlier told FE that it wants a dispute redressal mechanism in place for sellers which they can resort to in case charges of selling counterfeit products are levelled against them by marketplaces.

An earlier draft e-commerce policy finalised by a taskforce under former commerce secretary Rita Teaotia met with criticism following which government stepped up consultations on the policy.

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