Ease of doing business for MSMEs: CAIT said the policy measures are keenly awaited by traders “since they are facing great harassment at the hands of foreign e-commerce companies (such as Amazon, Flipkart, others) and an uneven level playing field because of predatory pricing, exclusivity and owing inventory.”
Ease of doing business for MSMEs: Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Wednesday requested commerce minister Piyush Goel for early rollout of e-commerce policy, e-commerce rules under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and a new Press Note to replace Press Note No 2 of foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail. CAIT said the policy measures are keenly awaited by traders “since they are facing great harassment at the hands of foreign e-commerce companies (such as Amazon, Flipkart, others) and an uneven level playing field because of predatory pricing, exclusivity and owing inventory.”
The government had first put the draft of the e-commerce policy in the public domain back in February 2019 for public consultations and suggestions from various stakeholders. However, the policy hasn’t been notified and implemented yet.
Currently, the e-commerce sector is governed by multiple acts including Consumer Protection Act, 2019; Competition Act, 2002; Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017; Information Technology Act, 2000; Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007; Companies Act, 2013; Copyright Act, 1957, etc. Moreover, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy and Foreign Exchange Management Act, of 1999 contain provisions related to FDI in India’s e-commerce sector.
With respect to the e-commerce rules, which specify the duties and liabilities of sellers on e-commerce marketplaces and inventory-based e-commerce entities including consumer grievance redressals, the Department of Consumer Affairs under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 had notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules in July 2020.
However, e-commerce companies sought further revision in the rules over the definition of an e-commerce entity, banning flash sales, etc., in June 2021. The final version of the rules is yet to be released by the government.
CAIT National President BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal further said that no substantial FDI is entering into India through the e-commerce route and instead whatever money routed under the guise of FDI is used for cash-burning or to support huge losses incurred by global e-tailers.
CAIT also appealed for provisions prohibiting flash sales, market-distorting discount offers, making e-commerce marketplaces responsible for the quality of the products sold, misselling of goods and services, equal treatment of all sellers registered on their platforms, etc.