ROUND TABLE ON E COMMERCE DEMANDED IMPLEMENTATION OF PRESS NOTE NO. 3 & A REGULATORY AUTHORITY FOR E COMMERCE

In a National Round Table Conference on E Commerce Policy held today at New Delhi, the trade & industry leaders called upon the Government to frame a well defined e commerce policy for creating a level playing field and protection of data and engagement of participation of MSME sector in e commerce business.

The Round Table was organised by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) which was attended by prominent leaders of Trade & Industry, Transport, Farmers, Small Industries, Hawkers, Consumers and several E Commerce Companies. Organisations like Swadeshi Jagran Manch, All India Online Vendors Association,Indian Cellular Association, Forum against FTAs, IT for Change etc. also attended the Conference.

In a unanimous resolution passed at the Conference it was resolved that Press Note No.3 of 2016 should be strictly implemented in letter & spirit and any offender should be immediately penalised.It was also resolved that a strong Regulatory Authority for e commerce should be constituted to regulate and monitor e commerce business in India.

Chairing the Round Table, CAIT Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal said that it is. estimated that by year 2022 the size of digital economy in India will be $1 Trillion and by year 2030 it will rise to 50% of the total Indian economy and therefore formulating a comprehensive e commerce policy having inclusion of a fair environment for domestic trade and enabling them with latest technology is need of the hour. He also stressed the need of a strong Data protection framework & maintaining privacy in digital environment.

While praising the introduction of draft of the e commerce policy, Mr. Khandelwal said that allowing limited inventory to e commerce platform is not at all acceptable since they are only technology facilitators and nothing to do with inventory. If they are allowed to keep inventory, it will distort the basic fundamental of the policy. The term “bulk purchases” is ambiguous and as such needs to be defined and clarified. The e commerce companies should not be allowed to offer any discount since they are not the owners of inventory. Each E commerce company should be duly registered with Authorities .

The speakers at the Conference lamented that there is no common definition of e commerce. The data on the trade of digital products is inadequate which leads to distortions and anomalies in e commerce trade. They opined that on the one side a facilitative regulatory environment for leveraging access to data needs to be created whereas on the other hand it is also necessary to build a better eco-system for digital financial flow. At the same time creation of a level playing field and stimulation of the participation of MSME sector is all the more necessary to have a robust e commerce trade in the Country.

Speakers at the Conference said that RuPay is a total online failure and as such the Government should promote its Bharat QR launched in 2017 for making digital payments in e commerce transactions. Suitable mechanism for digital lending should also be framed.

On the basis of deliberations held at the Conference, the CAIT will draft recommendations and will submit to Union Commerce Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu for necessary action.

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