The underlying cause of the issues and concerns plaguing sellers on e-commerce platforms is the lack of platform neutrality, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce remarked in its report on Promotion and Regulation of E-Commerce in India presented to the Rajya Sabha on June 16. "In the absence of a clear policy and guidelines that specifically spell out what practices amount to a conflict of interest in e-marketplaces and what are the acceptable conducts of platforms, irrespective of the platforms being funded by foreign or domestic entities, such contestation between platforms and business users [sellers] are bound to happen. [...] Inculcating a culture of transparency in operations of platforms and formulating a dedicated and comprehensive policy that governs the e-commerce marketplace is the need of the hour," the Committee opined. Why does this matter? The Competition Commission of India is currently investigating Amazon and Flipkart for a range of alleged anti-competitive practices. But regardless of the outcome of this investigation, concerns in e-commerce will continue to exist and new ones will emerge if proper regulations are not instituted to address the root causes of the concerns. The Parliamentary Committee proposes actions the government can take to this effect. Apart from suggestions on addressing competition issues in e-commerce, the Committee has also separately proposed a list of changes to improve the country's e-commerce and competition regulations. What are the major competition concerns in e-commerce? “The e-commerce market in India exhibits a clear pattern of concentration, where few e-marketplace giants hold control over a large…
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