Draft e-commerce policy: Conformity assessment procedures for online platforms

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According to the draft e-commerce policy, compliance assessment procedures will be enforced to ensure that goods and services offered on e-commerce platforms meet required requirements and technical regulations. The proposal, which is still being debated, also specified that activities and items that the online network organizations cannot do “can also not be done” by any of their associates and related parties.

According to the draft, conformity assessment procedures will be implemented to ensure that products and services delivered on e-commerce platforms meet required requirements and technical regulations as set out by sector-specific regulations and laws. Inspection, inspection, and certification of goods and services are examples of these procedures.

Only government departments and agencies are currently authorized to buy products and services via the GeM portal. A marketplace or hybrid e-commerce provider, according to the draught policy, must treat its relationships with sellers on its platform agnostically and without favoring any of them. It has discussed topics such as the concept of e-commerce, a code of ethics, the development of a conducive environment, increasing exports, surveillance, meeting the sector’s regulatory challenges, data handling, customer preference, fair competition, anti-counterfeiting, and anti-piracy.

This draft was addressed at an inter-ministerial meeting last week, which was chaired by officials from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). The draft describes e-commerce as the selling, promotion, delivery, or provision of goods or services over the Internet or other information networks, and it will apply equally to international and domestic investments. The government has announced that it would work to streamline regulatory procedures to reduce the burden of enforcement for e-commerce-related activities. The government will work to get offline sellers online by assisting with computerization, digital payment capability, and onboarding of sellers who do not currently have such capabilities.

The draft states that measures will be taken to provide online lending, credit rating, finance, and transportation support to SMEs through private and public sector banks to promote exports through the e-commerce medium. To promote e-commerce exports, several interfaces will be digitally incorporated, including the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the Department of Posts (DoP), the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), and the Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN).

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