E-commerce rules: Officials from DPIIT, consumer affairs to meet on Friday

Top officials from the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) are set to meet on Friday to align the proposed policy and rules to regulate the e-commerce space in the country.

Secretary consumer affairs Rohit Kumar Singh and industry department’s secretary Anurag Jain are expected to discuss how the e-commerce policy prepared by DPIIT has shaped up. “The proposed amendments in the consumer protection rules for etailers will also have to be in line with that, while ensuring that there is no overlap,” a senior government official told Business Standard.

The consumer affairs ministry has completed consultation with top ecommerce companies, industry associations and other relevant stakeholders. “But we are also taking the views of NGOs, as the rules are consumer-centric,” the official cited above said. The department is likely to dilute some clauses of the draft e-commerce rules aimed at consumer protection after key government departments, as well as top ecommerce players raised concerns regarding the proposed amendments.

The consumer affairs ministry had in June last year proposed a set of guidelines for etailers including ban on flash sales or sale of goods at significantly reduced prices. The guidelines also gave preference to locally produced goods. Industry representatives and government departments were critical of the guidelines, arguing that investor sentiment would be hurt. The final rules’ main focus will be protecting the interests of consumers.

As far as DPIIT’s e-commerce policy is concerned, the department has circulated the latest draft policy to other government departments and ministries for consultation. Earlier, at least two drafts prepared by DPIIT could not become policy after some government departments opposed certain clauses.

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