Sunstartv (Bhubaneswar):In order to make Indian e-commerce landscape available to traders of the Country in pursuance of the Digital India mission and vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has today released a white paper on E-commerce to address the widely concerning issues in the realm of e-commerce. Over the past few years, E-commerce and digital trade in India have seen an exponential growth and have witnessed wide acceptance among the consumers.Since e-commerce is here to stay, it becomes essential that the interests of all the stakeholders, including the sellers, are protected. The CAIT has made an in-depth study of the growing significance of digital trade & e-commerce, present market size of the sector and its future growth, increasing importance of e-commerce marketplace platforms, existing laws which deal with e-commerce sector and practices which are prevalent in the sector and made part of the White Paper. The 50 pages White Paper has five chapters and also contains a set of 27 recommendations for the Government to be incorporated in e-commerce policy and 9 recommendations for incorporation in Consumer Protection (E Commerce) Rules,2020.
CAIT Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal appreciated the attempt of the Government to roll out e-commerce policy and various statements of Union Commerce Minister Shri Piyush Goyal several times in the past that the law and policy will have to be obeyed by one and all. We expect that e-commerce policy will be rolled out soon and the distortions and disparities in e-commerce will come to an end paving the way for a competitive e-commerce trade environment in the Country. The CAIT is committed to empower the traders of India with digital technology as per the vision of Prime Minister Shri Modi.
Mr. Khandelwal while speaking at the release event of the White Paper held today at New Delhi said that the White Paper examines the major issues pertaining to lack of platform neutrality, excessive discounting by platforms, unfair usage of data by platform to again undue competitive advantage, exclusive arrangement and launches, and mergers affecting the platform neutrality. We have examined in detail how the conducts of the e-commerce platform have an effect not only on the sellers, but other major stakeholders- manufacturers and consumers as well. “Studying the impact of the conduct, we have argued why is it important to ensure that e-commerce platforms remain neutral.Giving reference to several international studies and literature on this subject, we have argued that failure to ensure fairness in conducts of e-commerce platforms will lead to a situation where only a few large handful number of platforms will be able to take advantage of the digital boon, while several other stakeholders would be left out. Therefore, the e-commerce policy needs to be inclusive and must ensure collective growth”-said Mr. Khandelwal.
Mr. Khandelwal further said that discussing the issues, we have suggested that e-commerce policy must address the concerns emanating from lack of platform neutrality, excessive discounting, unfair usage of data etc., and ensure that an inclusive approach is adopted for the industry. In order to ensure the same, we have also suggested that e-commerce should also have a specialized regulator which would be able promote and implement inclusive growth and ensure interests of all the stakeholders are protected.The recommendations also calls for formation of an empowered Regulatory Body to regulate and monitor e-commerce business. It has strongly argued that the marketplace should act purely as a trade intermediary and a place for the buyers and sellers to meet rather than engage in any kind of business for itself. The data accrued by the marketplace should not be used elsewhere, it is to be ensured as well. In order to enable small traders,artisans, craftsmen,karigars etc, the White Paper has also recommended abolition of mandatory GST Registration for the sellers before selling goods online.