New draft e-commerce policy to focus on transparency in online biz: Prabhu

New draft e-commerce policy to focus on transparency in online biz: Prabhu
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New Delhi, Dec 21: The new draft e-commerce policy would focus on several areas including promotion of transparency in pricing and discounts, and protection of interests of both retailers as well as consumers, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said Friday.
He said the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is working on the new draft policy and it will be put in public domain in the next 2-3 weeks for stakeholders’ views.
“The key component of the policy is to increase the ease of doing business in e-commerce. It should benefit both retailers and consumers. There should be a complete transparency in the e-commerce businesses in terms of pricing and discounts,” the minister told .
Prabhu said it would also include provisions “for all wrongdoers” as there should be some sort of regulatory framework for consumer protection.
“We are not saying whether it (discounts by online retailers) should be given or not but there should be transparency,” he added.
The minister said the new draft would be finalised taking into account the suggestions made by the earlier draft prepared by the Department of Commerce.
The exercise started after some concerns were raised on certain proposals of the first draft e-commerce policy, which was prepared by a task force. The first draft suggested several steps to promote the growth of the sector. It also stated that online retail firms may have to store user data exclusively in India in view of security and privacy concerns.
It further stated 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 earlier draft also suggested to introduce a pre-set time frame for offering differential pricing or deep discounts by e-commerce players to customers.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has time and again raised concerns over heavy discounts being provided by certain online retailers.
Framing of a new policy also assumes significance as rich member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are pushing to frame global norms for e-commerce.