The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is conducting an inter-ministerial consultation to frame an e-commerce policy, according to the Press Trust of India. The report says that the e-commerce policy will serve as a comprehensive framework in comparison to the Consumer Protection (e-commerce rules), 2020. Why it matters: Indian traders have been demanding a comprehensive e-commerce policy for a while now. In January last year, The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT, a traders association that claims to represent 7 crore traders) highlighted the need for clear stipulations on transparent operations of e-commerce platforms, non-discriminatory access of marketplace platforms to all stakeholders, and value chain, and avoidance of conflict of interest between marketplace platforms. With a policy in the works, we are yet to see whether these demands would be addressed or not. The context behind the creation of an e-commerce policy: In 2020, multiple allegations were made against Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart for touting the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy. According to this policy, e-commerce companies with FDI like Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart can only operate as marketplaces for third-party sellers and cannot operate an inventory-based model where they sell directly to customers. There have been other complaints against these e-commerce giants that allege practices like preferential treatment to some sellers, and predatory pricing. In 2021, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs proposed amendments to Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 which proposed to address abuse of FDI regulations. These amendments came out with rules to address…
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