Draft e-commerce policy: Some stakeholders seeking more time to give comments, suggestions

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  1. Some stakeholders from the online trading sectors have sought more time to provide their comments on the draft National E-commerce Policy, 2019. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had released the draft policy for public consultation in February 2019.
  2. The prime objective of the policy is to prepare and enable stakeholders to fully benefit from the opportunities that would arise from progressive digitalization of the domestic digital economy.
  3. The draft policy has been divided into 6 categories – a) Data, b) Infrastructure Development, c) E-commerce marketplaces, d) Regulatory issues, e) Stimulating the domestic digital economy and f) Export promotion through e-commerce.
  4. The draft policy seeks to create legal and technological framework that can provide the basis for imposing restrictions on cross-border data flow from a) collected by ‘Internet of Things(IoT)devices installed in public space and b) data generated by users in India from various sources, including e-commerce platforms, social media, search engines etc.
  5. As per the draft policy, a data authority shall be set up along with a suitable framework for sharing of community data that serves ‘larger public interest’.
  6. The policy calls for establishment of secure and digital infrastructure and encourage the development of data. According to the draft, Data centres, server farms, towers and tower stations, equipment, etc. will be given ‘infrastructure status’
  7. As per the draft policy, all product shipments from other countries to India are to be channelized through the customs route.
  8. The draft policy mandates that all ecommerce sites/apps which are available for download in India have to be registered in India. The registration should be made as importer on record or as the entity through which all sales in India are transacted.
  9. The draft also addresses the issue of piracy by expanding responsibility to all stakeholders in the digital content space. Intermediaries have been obligated to create systems to identify and prevent dissemination of pirated content.
  10. Under the draft policy, regulation has been proposed on advertising charges in e-commerce for helping small enterprises and start-ups.
  11. For consumer protection, the draft policy has suggested online dispute resolution and establishment of e- consumer courts
  12. To promote exports through e-commerce the draft policy has suggested a number of measures such as increase in existing cap of INR 25,000 for courier exports, simplification of documentation for exports etc.