E-commerce policy will be announced soon: Govt tells CAIT

New Delhi, Feb 8: The government is expected to announce the e-commerce policy shortly, officials of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry told Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on February 8.
“It was assured today that e-commerce policy is almost ready and will be announced shortly,” said Praveen Khandelwal, General Secretary of CAIT.
“It was made very clear that the government is concerned about small traders of the country and that is why the Internal Trade has been brought under the domain of Commerce Ministry and DIPP renamed as Department for Promotion for Industry and Internal Trade,” he added.
CAIT met the government to express concerns over how e-commerce companies were readying to flout the norms again.
Last week, Amazon offloaded the two sellers, Cloudtail and Appario from its platform immediately after the revised foreign direct investment (FDI) guidelines for the e-commerce companies kicked in on February 1.
However on Thursday, it brought back Cloudtail by making a rejig in its structure.
Khandelwal also said the government has promised that a national policy for retail trade will be worked out.
There was no immediate clarity if the government will push for an open consultation by the industry stakeholders on the draft before it came out with the final policy.
In July, the government had come up with the first leg of the draft e-commerce policy that talked about allowing companies having FDI of up to 49 percent to switch from a marketplace model to an inventory-led model. The idea was to promote the sale of domestically-produced goods on online platforms under the government’s Make in India initiative by allowing B2C online retail companies to keep limited inventory
However, offline traders didn’t take to the proposal kindly and criticised it for acting as a backdoor entry for FDI in B2C retail.
While the stakeholders were consulted while preparing the draft, it was never made public.
The draft also recommended a separate wing in the Enforcement Directorate – a specialised financial investigation agency under Finance Ministry – to look at the existing violations in the e-commerce sector as well as incentivising companies for domestic data storage.