Significant difference of opinion within govt on draft e-commerce rules: Official

#Business, #E-commerce, #Economy

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There is a significant difference of opinion within the government on the draft e-commerce rules put out by the consumer affairs ministry, a top government official said on Wednesday and flagged concerns that continuous change of the policy causes a great deal of uncertainty.

The official said that unnecessary fear is created that the government’s current e-commerce policy is hurting small traders.

“There is a significant difference of opinion within the government on the draft Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules put out by the consumer affairs ministry… Continuous change of the policy causes a great deal of uncertainty,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.

Ban on fraudulent flash sales and misselling, and appointment of chief compliance officer/grievance redressal officer are among the key amendments proposed to the Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules, 2020.

The ministry had sought public comments on the draft rules by July 6 and later the deadline was extended to July 21.

The official said that the issue related to competition does not come under the consumer affairs ministry and those issues come under the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Further, he noted that out of estimated 7 crore traders, 85 per cent are micro traders and are benefitting from the current e-commerce policy.

“Modernisation of e-commerce will create more jobs and economic growth… and 85 per cent micro traders’ profit will also increase,” the official said.

Recently, Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan said the government will take a “balanced” approach while finalising the amendments proposed to the rules as “wide and varied” comments have been received from stakeholders.

The secretary had said e-commerce was a relevant sector last year and continues to be even now.

In June, Chief Commissioner of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) Nidhi Khare had made it clear that the ministry “will not regulate” the trade on e-commerce platforms and e-tailers need not be “anxious” about the proposed changes in the rules.

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