August 3 2018: The Indian government has released a draft policy for e-commerce in the country.
The document "seeks to achieve this goal through a multi-pronged approach, including the following: creating a facilitative regulatory environment for leveraging access to data, building better understanding of real and financial flows for future innovation by promoting the use of RuPay, creating a level playing field for foreign and domestic players in the Indian market by addressing some of the challenges confronting domestic players especially start-ups, addressing non-competitive practices and stimulating the participation of micro, small and medium enterprises in the digital economy."
However it has been widely criticized as being a throwback to an earlier era in India of repressive and stifling licenses and control -- and not in keeping with today's environment of seamless global online business.
We bring you some opinions
Mint: How India plans to regulate e-commerce
The draft e-commerce policy proposes that all discounts offered by large e-commerce firms be phased out within two years to ensure fair competition with brick-and-mortar stores. It mandates e-commerce firms to store consumer data in India. The firms will be given two years to comply. The Competition Commission of India may be asked to amend the current thresholds and examine potentially competition-distorting M&As. An independent regulator will address compliance with FDI caps in e-commerce
Business Today: Why the draft e-commerce policy is anti-consumer
A reading of the new e-commerce framework makes it amply clear that if the policy were to be retained as is, and passed, it would be anti-consumer.
Economic Times:The spirit is willing but the flesh’s weak
The draft national e-commerce policy that has been the subject of media reports is a mishmash of policy, wishful thinking, procedural reform and waste of time
Financial Express:E-commerce plan is badly conceived, best to scrap it
The draft e-commerce policy introduces some ideas that are not only retrograde, but even run counter to established fair play and equity... At the heart of the draft policy is an agenda that seeks to protect home-grown entrepreneurs. However, too much control will only put paid to whatever initiatives the local businessmen have taken; let’s face it, without the capital, all of which is coming from overseas, no entrepreneur can build a business.
Business Standard: Tripping e-commerce
The main flaw of the policy is that it seems to have been designed to establish stringent controls on this nascent sector rather than enabling growth. The concept of a so-called sunset clause for discount pricing strikes a very false note and harkens back to the days of the licence raj...
The Hindu: Discounting logic: on e-commerce policy
The draft e-commerce policy has too many echoes from the licence-raj era... The aim may be toprevent large players from pricing out the competition though unfair practices, but taken too far such licensing and price controls can depress the sector. To give the government a say on who can offer how much discount and for how long, instead of letting consumers exercise informed choices, would be a regressive step for the economy.