The offline traders’ association CAIT has written to commerce minister Suresh Prabhu urging the government not to scrap the draft national e-commerce policy, PTI reports. “If the policy is shelved, it will imply that the government is succumbing to the pressure of MNCs and online companies who want the e-commerce market to remain a free play ground,” CAIT was quoted as saying in its letter.

Earlier, the CAIT wanted the policy to be in place before the festive season this year. However, the current development follows the statements of DIPP secretary Ramesh Abhishek and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, who strongly indicated that there may not be an e-commerce policy in the first place.

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In August, the traders’ body held a roundtable conference where they aired their grievances. Sudhanshu Pandey, a senior Commerce Ministry bureaucrat was present at this meeting. The trade body:

  • complained of the government’s inaction in curtailing the creeping dominance of e-tailers in the market.
  • For instance, the government was not implementing the spirit of a prohibition on FDI in inventory-based e-commerce, which players like Amazon and Flipkart circumvent by indirectly controlling a large ‘third party seller’ like WS Retail or Cloudtail.

ReadWho was (and wasn’t) on the govt e-commerce think tank

Draft National E-commerce Policy: data localisation and priority to domestic companies