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Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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Govt. to clarify e-com FDI rules

Platforms can solely act as service supplier, not be a part of the commerce, warns Goyal

The Centre plans to difficulty a clarification on the overseas direct funding (FDI) coverage for the e-commerce sector within the wake of investigations into some overseas gamers’ operations following complaints about malpractices, in accordance to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

The authorities had sought data from the net marketplaces as a part of a probe into ‘certain complaints from consumers and small retailers about certain practices of e-commerce companies’, Mr. Goyal mentioned on Tuesday. Stressing that e-commerce platforms may solely act as a service supplier, the minister warned gamers ‘who break the law’ that they’d have to right their enterprise practices on the earliest.

‘Agnostic platform’

“We are also considering certain clarifications to ensure that the e-commerce sector works in the true spirit of the law, of the rules that have been laid down,” he mentioned, including the caveat that the e-commerce coverage per se would, nevertheless, not be modified because it was ‘robust, well-designed and operating in India in several sectors’.

“To reiterate, e-commerce is supposed to provide an agnostic platform so that buyers and sellers can trade with each other, the platform should not become a part of the trading transaction, neither should it be funding it or having algorithms that give preference to one or the other… They should neither be promoting their own products, but provide all data required to make a rational choice and the choice should be the free choice of the consumers,” Mr. Goyal defined.

“We believe that buyers and sellers should be given an opportunity to trade with each other; the platform is only a service provider,” the minister mentioned. “And those who break that law will certainly have to respond to our concerns and correct their business practices at the earliest,” he added.

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