In­dia in process of fram­ing rules to reg­u­late e-com­merce: Govt

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In­dia is in the process of fram­ing rules to reg­u­late the e-com­merce sec­tor, which is ex­pected to touch $ 120 bil­lion by 2020, food and con­sumer af­fairs min­is­ter Ram Vi­las Paswan said. While e-com­merce in In­dia is grow­ing at an an­nual rate of 51 per cent, the laws regulating the dig­i­tal mar­ket­places are still evolv­ing, he said.

“The emer­gence of global sup­ply chains, low­er­ing of trade bar­ri­ers, rise in in­ter­na­tional trade and the rapid de­vel­op­ment of e-com­merce have en­hanced the vul­ner­a­bil­ity to new forms of un­fair trade and un­eth­i­cal busi­ness prac­tices,” Paswan said at the 3rd In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Group of Ex­perts con­vened by the United Na­tions Con­fer­ence on Trade and De­vel­op­ment.

To pro­tect con­sumers, the gov­ern­ment has is­sued guide­lines for regulating di­rect sell­ing and is in the process of is­su­ing rules for e-com­merce also, he said. “These are guid­ing prin­ci­ples to strengthen the reg­u­la­tory mech­a­nism on di­rect sell­ing com­pa­nies and e-com­merce for al­low­ing le­git­i­mate busi­ness to con­tinue, pre­vent­ing frauds and pro­tect­ing the le­git­i­mate rights and in­ter­ests of con­sumers,” Paswan said in a state­ment.

E-com­merce, which is In­dia’s fastest grow­ing and most ex­cit­ing chan­nel for com­mer­cial trans­ac­tions, is ex­pected to jump from $ 30 bil­lion in 2016 to $120 bil­lion by 2020, he said.

Look­ing at the po­ten­tial growth, In­dia is in the process of cus­tomis­ing the vir­tual world es­pe­cially of the ru­ral con­sumers who are the ma­jor tar­get group for fu­ture, he said. The min­is­ter added that the launch of the Uni­fied Pay­ments In­ter­face (UPI) by the Re­serve Bank of In­dia has been a game changer.

The UPI has en­abled e-com­merce de­liv­ery staff to col­lect money elec­tron­i­cally for even cash on de­liv­ery trans­ac­tions, he added. High­light­ing mea­sures taken to pro­tect con­sumers and their in­ter­est, Paswan said In­dia has sus­tained a sin­gle-digit food in­fla­tion in the last four years and is cur­rently within an “ac­cept­able range” de­spite rise in crude oil prices re­cently.

“Food in­fla­tion ad­versely af­fects all and in par­tic­u­lar the vul­ner­a­ble sec­tions of the so­ci­ety. We have tack­led this prob­lem very ef­fi­ciently,” he said. Con­sumer price in­dexlinked in­fla­tion de­clined sharply be­tween 2015 and 2018 fis­cal, av­er­ag­ing at 4.7 per cent — down from 10.2 per cent in the pre­ced­ing five years, he added.

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