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No plans of an e-regulatory body for e-commerce, says Piyush Goyal

Photo of Piyush Goyal
Source: <a href="https://twitter.com/PiyushGoyal?ref_src=twsrcgoogletwcampserptwgrauthor">@PiyushGoyal</a>/Twitter

The government isn’t considering forming an e-regulatory body to regulate and monitor the e-commerce sector in India, Piyush Goyal informed the Lok Sabha, in a written reply on July 10.

“Owing to the cross cutting nature of e-Commerce, different laws and regulations across sectors govern the present e-Commerce activities, some of which are; Income Tax Act, 1961, Consumer Protection Act, 1986, Information Technology Act, 2000, Foreign Exchange Management Act, 2000, Payment And Settlement Systems Act 2007, Companies Act, 2013 and laws related to Goods and Services Tax. However, no such proposal is under consideration of the Government to constitute e-regulatory authority to regulate & monitor e-Commerce business in India.” [emphasis ours]

Opposition MP Raksha Nikhil Khadse also asked Goyal if the government’s e-commerce policy will check malpractices including predatory prices and deep discounts by e-retailers. To this, Goyal said that the e-commerce policy will not deal with this issue because the Competition Act 2002 and current FDI norms for e-commerce already address it:

“No, Sir [if the government’s e-commerce policy will check malpractices including predatory prices and deep discounts]. Measures to check malpractices by e-Commerce companies including predatory prices and deep discounts are laid down in the Competition Act 2002, which inter alia also checks anti-competitive agreements, including vertical restraints. Further, extant FDI policy on e-commerce sector has prescribed Guidelines for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on e-commerce which specifies that e-commerce marketplaces will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services and shall maintain a level playing field.”

No plans to increase FDI limits in the multi-brand retail sector

Replying to a separate set of questions on FDI in multi-brand retail raised by three opposition MPs, Goyal said that the government wasn’t considering to increase FDI in the multi-brand retail sector. He also said that the government hasn’t carried out any study to assess the impact of FDI on the retail market since it depends on a number of other factors other than FDI:

“The retail market sector depends on a number of factors, including FDI. However, FDI is largely a matter of private business decisions. FDI inflows depend on a host of factors such as availability of natural resource, market size, infrastructure, general investment climate as well as macro-economic stability and investment decision of foreign investors.”

Goyal also said that so far, the country has received FDI in multi-brand retail from one foreign company of UK and a state/UT wise information on FDI flow isn’t maintained by the central government:

“India has received FDI in multi-brand retail from one foreign company of United Kingdom. State/UT-wise data of FDI inflow is not centrally maintained.”

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