DPIIT working on a new ecommerce policy: Official

The new policy is expected to address data and consumer rights, as well as issues of fake goods, packaging, and rules of origin.
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The commerce and industry ministry is "definitely" working on a new ecommerce policy that will have various features such as those related to data and consumer rights, a senior government official said on Friday.

The other issues that need to be looked at while formulating the policy are counterfeit products, packaging, and rules of origin, said the official of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

DPIIT is an arm of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

"Who should be accountable for counterfeit products sold through an ecommerce company. Data is an important issue," the official said. "The entire data issue will be governed by what actually the data law will be, which is before Parliament. That is why we are not in a hurry to finalise it (the policy)... So, whatever will be the final outcome of that data bill, it will apply to everybody who will deal with data."

A regulator may also be set up for the ecommerce sector if required, said the official.

The official said the issue is not only about foreign direct investment (FDI), as a large number of ecommerce firms are outside FDI.

In 2019, the government had released a draft national ecommerce policy, which proposed setting up a legal and technological framework for restrictions on cross-border data flow and also laid out conditions for businesses regarding collection or processing of sensitive data locally and storing it abroad.

Several foreign ecommerce firms have time and again raised concerns regarding some points in the draft pertaining to data.

Earlier this year, DPIIT had launched a regulatory compliance portal that will act as a bridge between citizens, industries, and the government to minimise burdensome compliances.

It will also act as a first-of-its-kind central online repository of all central and state-level compliances, the department said in January.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

Edited by Lena Saha

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