e-Commerce: The New Boom

Draft E-Commerce Policy


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : E-commerce regulation in India

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will soon come out with a common acceptable draft e-commerce policy.

Earlier policy

  • The previous draft in July last year had proposed a regulator, an e-commerce law, periodic audit of companies that store or mirror Indian users’ data overseas.
  • The latest draft calls for streamlining of regulatory processes to ease the burden of compliance for activities related to e-commerce and regulations for data that will provide for sharing mechanism.

What are the provisions of the new law?

Data Usage

  • According to a revised draft, the government would lay down principles for the usage of data for industrial development, where such norms do not already exist.
  • They aim to put in place safeguards to prevent misuse and access of data by unauthorized persons.
  • Such safeguards may include regulating the cross-border flow of data pertaining to Indians and transactions taking place in India and the requirement of adequacy audits to be carried out by Indian firms.
  • As per the recent draft policy, violation of safeguards shall be viewed seriously and attract heavy penalties.

Regulation, exports

  • Conformity assessment procedures will be put in place to verify that goods and services sold on e-commerce platforms meet required standards and technical regulations.
  • The government shall collect information from e-commerce platforms to aid it in making necessary decisions.
  • In order to ensure that e-commerce is not used to defraud customers, registration with an authority identified by the Government shall be mandatory.
  • The policy shall bring e-commerce exports on par with non-e-commerce exports by enabling online grant of drawbacks, advance authorization and GST refund.

Consumer protection

  • As per the draft, e-commerce operators must ensure to bring out clear and transparent policies on discounts, including the basis of discount rates funded by platforms.
  • Such a move aims to ensure fair and equal treatment.
  • It said consumers have a right to be made aware of all relevant details about the goods and services offered for sale including country of origin, value addition in India etc.
  • In case the seller fails to establish the genuineness of his products within a reasonable time frame, the e-commerce platform shall delist the seller.

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