Government sets up inter-ministerial group to study issues in e-commerce sector – The News Minute


Into its last year of the 5-year tenure, the Union government under Narendra Modi trying to move in multiple directions to address sector-wise pending issues. If it was the startups that were being closely looked at by a committee, now it is the turn of the Ecommerce sector. The Union Commerce Secretary, Rita Teaotia has disclosed that the government has set-up an inter-ministerial group to go into the issues being faced by the country’s Ecommerce business.   

The group will interact with all stakeholders to explore where all the government’s policies are creating hurdles and what changes need to be instituted. The government has realized that besides the selling of products online, the offering of services like cab aggregators like Ola and Uber are also seen as Ecommerce businesses only and the discussions will cover these as well.

Many of these sectors and the way the businesses are carried on are grey areas as far as the government is concerned and it may take time for them to first understand the finer nuances of the operations. Teaotia has indicated that no timeframe has been set for the group to come up with its report.

The government also established a think tank earlier this month to find ways to develop a domestic policy that makes clear what India’s stance on cross border digital trade is and to see what can be done within the country to leverage the existing situation and for the future.

In fact, there were reports last month that the ecommerce sector is set to see some significant changes and may be faced with tougher regulations and a demand for transparency under the Consumer Protection Act, 2018.

With the rise of fake and defective items being sold and fraudulent sales taking place, ecommerce players will be made liable for all such sales and will have to disclose their seller agreements and business details as well.

The Consumer Protection Bill was cleared by the Union Cabinet in December and introduced in Parliament the following month. 

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