Draft ecommerce rules: Piyush Goyal says strong feedback will help prepare robust policy

The Consumer Affairs Ministry is examining the public comments on the ban on fraudulent flash sales and misselling and the appointment of chief compliance officer/grievance redressal officer, which are among the key amendments proposed to the Consumer Protection (ecommerce) Rules, 2020.
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Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal said "strong feedback" will help in preparing a robust ecommerce policy even as he termed reports of differences within the government on the proposed policy as efforts to "sensationalise any feedback".

Stating it is elementary to get feedback on the draft rules, the minister said, "This speaks of the robust way of the working of the Modi government, which is willing to engage with stakeholders and take different points of view on board and come up with a successful policy."

Goyal was replying to a query on media reports on difference of opinion among various ministries and government think-tank Niti Aayog on the draft ecommerce rules.

Earlier in the day, a government official said there is a "significant difference of opinion within the government" on the draft rules and flagged concerns that continuous change of the policy causes a great deal of uncertainty.

Piyush Goyal

At present, the consumer affairs ministry is examining the public comments on the ban on fraudulent flash sales and mis-selling and the appointment of chief compliance officer/grievance redressal officer, which are among the key amendments proposed to the Consumer Protection (ecommerce) Rules, 2020.

"I am very amused with all that has been going in the newspapers... I am amazed by some of the reports — that I read — trying to sensationalise any feedback that you get," Goyal told reporters after launching the National Single Window System portal here.

"We welcome all feedback because, with strong feedback, we will be able to come up with a more robust and good policy that is helpful to all stakeholders," he said.

A draft policy is framed to get public feedback, which is a process of stakeholders' consultation, he said, adding that every section has to survive and grow.

The consumer affairs ministry, which has received wide and varied comments on the draft rules, is examining the comments seriously as maximum consumer complaints received at the government's National Consumer Helpline were related to the ecommerce sector.

As per the government data, 36 percent of the 1,91,80 consumer complaints were related to ecommerce between April-July of this year, followed by banking (9 percent) and electronic products (6 percent).

Amid a rise in consumer complaints related to ecommerce, the ministry is looking at addressing the problems holistically surrounding ecommerce business in the best interest of consumers.

"There is a significant difference of opinion within the government on the draft Consumer Protection (ecommerce) Rules put out by the consumer affairs ministry... Continuous change of the policy causes a great deal of uncertainty," the government official said earlier in the day.

Recently, Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan said the government will take a "balanced" approach while finalising the amendments proposed to the rules as "wide and varied" comments have been received from stakeholders.

Replying to a query related to reports of Amazon initiating an investigation against some of its legal representatives for allegedly bribing Indian government officials, Goyal said he does not want to comment on the issue.

The minister added that the investigation does not come under the purview of his department.

Edited by Suman Singh