Need to protect consumers, small retailers amid growth in e-commerce: Govt

Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh on Tuesday stressed that there should not be a situation of monopoly by large e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart

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Indian retail sector | e-commerce industry | Indian consumers

With rising growth in online trade, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh on Tuesday stressed that there should not be a situation of monopoly by large e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart, and there is a need to prepare a new framework to protect consumers as well as small retailers.

Addressing an event to celebrate the World Consumer Rights Day, he said the government has recently introduced UPI (Unified Payment Interface) in feature phones and said this will lead to an exponential increase in digital payment and e-commerce.

He said there will be a need to prepare a new framework to protect consumers from unfair trade practices.

Stating that the size of e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart will keep growing, Singh stressed on the need to protect consumers from possible monopolistic situation.

On the sidelines of the event, the secretary said the symmetry between consumers and suppliers is going in favour of intermediaries (market places).

“When more and more people will trade on marketplace, the power equation of consumers will be loaded in favour of intermediaries. So, we will have save them from that. What choices do I get, are increasingly being dependent on the marketplace. So we want that to be fair,” he added.

Singh emphasised on the algorithm independence and noted that the European Union has very strict rules on this as market places have to declare the basis on which search results will be displayed for any commodity.

He also spoke about the importance of privacy of data of a consumer.

“We should not be having a situation which is leading to monopoly,” the secretary said and added consumers and small retailers need to be protected.

Singh highlighted that the department of consumer affairs and department of Promotion, industry and internal trade (DPIIT) are developing ONDC (Open Network of Digital Commerce), which is an interconnected system for all e-commerce platforms.

“The vision is to provide and facilitate neutrality,” he said, adding that the basis of search results should be clear to consumers.

Stating that digital e-commerce would stay, the secretary said there is a need to ensure that the big players give fair treatment to consumers in terms of privacy and choices.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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