E-commerce policy in the works: Govt

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NEW DELHI: The government said Thursday it is working on an e-commerce directive and will also set rules for the sector under the Consumer Protection Act and ensure they are compatible with each other.
“They will be reasonably congruent. That’s the idea… We are having discussions on harmonizing the E-Commerce Directive and E-Commerce Rules under the Consumer Protection Act… In doing so we will try to ensure that this is guaranteed, be it by a regulator or at other way that the customer is king”, Rajesh Kumar SinghSecretary of the Department of Industry and Domestic Trade Promotion (DPIIT), told reporters work on the directive is at an advanced stage.
Expanding the idea of ​​the open network of digital commerce (ONDC), Singh said the network is trying to democratize access to e-commerce for many small and medium-sized businesses, thereby creating a level playing field.
He went on to say that ONDC would also be covered under the new consumer protection regime, but gave no further details. Currently, any dispute between buyer and seller must be resolved between them, with the network offering an online dispute resolution mechanism to resolve customer complaints, ONDC chief executive T koshy called.

Koshy’s comments came amid calls from e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart to ensure they aren’t saddled with liability for poor service for transactions on their platforms. The DPIIT secretary said the government wants to ensure ONDC creates the ecosystem for small businesses to grow their businesses and help consumers, dismissing suggestions the government wants to squeeze e-commerce platforms’ margins.
“It’s not that we’re trying to put anyone out of business or that we’re a direct competitor for any particular e-commerce operator,” Singh said, amid much talk of ONDC waging a price war against the grocery Delivery giant Zomato and leads swiggy. While volume on ONDC is still much lower compared to traffic on e-commerce platforms, Koshy gave numbers and argued that the expansion has been rapid.
He also said the network is looking to expand its offering to include financial services, beauty products and homewear, as well as a B2B offering, for which it is working with two partners. He also said that around 250 companies are at an advanced stage of integration.
Koshy said ONDC is expected to record around 100,000 transactions per day by the end of the year, almost five times the current figure. The number of dealers is also expected to double during this period from the current 36,000.





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