Tata is setting up its e-commerce logistics in Jamshedpur in Jharkhand and Mithapur in Gujarat to expand its online deliveries through its upcoming super app TataNeu, Economic Times reported. Both these cities are major Tata production hubs and are largely occupied by the company’s employees.
The app will first be tested by more than 5 lakh Tata employees before it rolls out to the general consumers in January or February, the report said. According to ET, the test app currently includes services of Taj Hotels, Tata Cliq, BigBasket, Croma, and Air Asia, while 1mg, Trent, and Titan will come to the app in the coming weeks. After that, the app will onboard Vistara, Starbucks, and Air India, the report stated.
In late September, Times of India reported that the app will be called TataNeu and that Tata Group chairman N Chandrasekaran gave a sneak peek of the app to the senior leadership.
Has Tata figured out how to navigate proposed changes to e-commerce rules?
Earlier in September, Tata Digital put the launch of its super app on hold because of the lack of clarity around the proposed e-commerce rules. These proposed rules give the existing Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 more teeth. The changes include new rules to limit who can sell on marketplace platforms. For example, the proposed rules disallow an e-commerce marketplace’s “related parties” and “associated enterprises” from being enlisted as sellers for sale to consumers directly. Tata’s hundreds of subsidiaries fit the criteria for “related parties” and “associated enterprises,” preventing them from being sellers on the super app.
In late August, Additional Secretary in the consumer affairs ministry Nidhi Khare said that all provisions, including the definition of “related party” will be examined properly before finalising the rules. An earlier report from The Indian Express also said that the government is revisiting some provisions pertaining to definitions such as “related party” and “e-commerce entity” after facing pushback from many in the industry. But there has since been no concrete indication of what form the final amendments will take.
Now that Tata is testing its super app and planning to launch by February next year, does this mean the company is confident that the “related parties” clause in the proposed e-commerce rules will be dropped or amended to exclude companies like Tata? Or has Tata found a way to work around the proposed rules? Or is the conglomerate done waiting for an update on the rules?
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