Industry body points to lacunae in e-commerce policy

A framework would be created to provide the basis for imposing restrictions on cross-border data flow from specified sources including data collected by IoT devices installed in public space, and data generated by users in India by various sources, including e-commerce platforms, social media, search engines, says the draft policy.

The 42-page draft addresses six broad issues of the e-commerce ecosystem – data, infrastructure development, e-commerce marketplaces, regulatory issues, stimulating domestic digital economy and export promotion through e-commerce.

The draft national e-commerce policy released by the government has left out some areas, which traders’ body CAIT feels may create new problems for the sector. “The draft of e-commerce policy looks to be innovative and good but at the same time several things have been left out,” media reports quoted CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal.

Khandelwal finds the draft policy silent on domestic players in the sector, when it should provide substantial platform for business. He says this is undesirable and should be brought under the policy.

The draft national e-commerce policy was released by the government on Saturday. It has proposed setting up a legal and technological framework for restrictions on cross-border data flow and also lays out conditions for businesses regarding collection or processing of sensitive data locally and storing it abroad.

A framework would be created to provide the basis for imposing restrictions on cross-border data flow from specified sources including data collected by IoT devices installed in public space, and data generated by users in India by various sources, including e-commerce platforms, social media, search engines, says the draft policy.

The 42-page draft addresses six broad issues of the e-commerce ecosystem -- data, infrastructure development, e-commerce marketplaces, regulatory issues, stimulating domestic digital economy and export promotion through e-commerce.

The draft policy states that any business entity that collects or processes sensitive data in India and stores it abroad, shall be required to adhere to the certain conditions.

Strategies to protect misuse of data while maintaining the spirit of existing regulations has also been provided in the draft policy. E-commerce warrants a framework which extends across segments, due to the cross-cutting nature of issues, the draft policy states.

On e-commerce marketplace businesses, the policy aims to invite and encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in the marketplace model “alone”, which is being carried out by companies like Flipkart and Amazon.

The draft lays down that online marketplaces should not adopt business models or strategies that are discriminatory and  favour one or few sellers/traders operating on their platforms over others, the draft clarifies.

All e-commerce sites/apps available for download in India must have a registered business entity in India as the importer on record or as the entity through which all sales in India are transacted, the draft policy requires.

This is the second draft prepared by the department for promotion of industry and internal (DPIIT) as several concerns were raised over the first draft of the department of commerce.

Source: HBL/media reports


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