Group of Secretaries constituted on e-Commerce

A group of secretaries constituted to look into the e-commerce issues will hold its first meeting on September 13 to deliberate on the proposals of the draft policy.

The meet assumes significance as a section of the industry had raised concerns regarding the draft policy.

“The group, which will be chaired by the Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), will meet on September 13,” an official said. 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.

Policy matters

The initial draft e-commerce policy has suggested several steps to promote the growth of the fast growing sector. It stated that online retail firms may have to store user data exclusively in India in view of security and privacy concerns.

It also said 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 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 is allowed only in the marketplace model.

Besides, it has 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.

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