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India’s proposed e-commerce rules face objections from within the government: Report

Several provisions of the draft rules including its ban on flash sales ran into internal government dissent.

India's proposed amendments to the e-commerce rules are facing objections from within the government, Reuters reported on September 21 citing several memos. The amendments were proposed in June in response to repeated antitrust complaints against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart and they give the existing Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 more teeth. The changes include new rules to limit who can sell on marketplace platforms, the establishment of a grievance redressal mechanism, new display and labelling criteria for foreign goods, the prohibition of flash sales, restrictions on promotions, fall-back liability, among other things. The government is currently reviewing the feedback submitted by various stakeholders. Read: Summary of the proposed amendments to E-Commerce Rules, 2020 Objections by the finance ministry The finance ministry had a dozen objections including that the rules are excessive and would hurt job creation and tax revenue. "The proposed amendments are likely to have significant implications/restrictions on a sunrise sector and 'ease of doing business.' Care needs to be taken to ensure that the proposed measures remain 'light-touch regulations'," said a memo according to Reuters. The ministry also objected to placing liability of sellers' mistakes on e-commerce platforms saying that this would be a "huge dampener" and will force companies "to revisit their basic business models." The ban on flash sales was also objected to by the ministry. "This is a normal trade practice. The proposed restriction ... seems without economic rationale," the ministry wrote according to Reuters. Objections by NITI Aayog In July, NITI Aayog's vice chairman, Rajiv Kumar, wrote to commerce…

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