The government has constituted a think tank, chaired by Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, specifically to frame rules and regulations for the sector.
NEW DELHI: With increasing number of e-commerce companies and no specifications and regulations regarding such business in India, the Union government is planning to come up with a separate regulator for the sector.
“There is so much confusion regarding e-commerce in India. Space is expanding fast and it requires well-defined regulations and policies. That is the reason why space requires a separate regulator. The government is working on it,” said a member of the recently constituted think tank on e-commerce The government has constituted a think tank, chaired by Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, specifically to frame rules and regulations for the sector. The think tank member further said that all digital businesses will be legally bound to register with the regulator. This will also make a real estimation of the total number of e-commerce companies and their registered offices.
The think tank will come up with its final draft on the e-commerce policy by the end of this month. The final draft is being reviewed by the committee, which is incorporating the suggestions and framework. Once the draft is ready and out, the government will seek comments and suggestions from the public.
“Apart from the general business regulations, the regulator will also look into discount policies, monitoring of product quality, more clarification on FDI rules on inventory and the server and data issues. We have already done several brainstorming sessions on this and are holding talks with stakeholders for suggestions,” the official added.
The think tank is also fine-tuning certain grey areas that exist in e-commerce companies regarding Goods and Services Tax. Recently, the merger of Amazon and Flipkart once again fuelled discussions regarding the lack of strict regulations, where big players manage to manipulate FDI rules. Retailers contend that in the absence of strong regulations, big global chains are manipulating rules to their advantage. Retailers have also complained regarding the product quality and services of e-commerce players. According to Praveen Khandelwal of Confederation of All India Traders, these complaints are not being taken seriously.
‘Not quite impartial’
Retailer associations allege that the government think tank’s draft report on e-commerce policy, parts of which they are already aware of, is already tilted in favour of major e-commerce players such as Amazon, Ola and Paytm.