A panel of senior bureaucrats, headed by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Ramesh Abhishek, on Thursday reviewed recommendations of a task force on e-commerce and decided to meet again in a month, official sources said.
“No final decision was taken in the meeting. But all departments will deliberate on the task force’s recommendations relating to their areas and get back with their suggestions in a month,” said a source. The meeting was part of the government’s efforts to hammer out consensus on the e-commerce policy, after departments, including DIPP and the ministry of electronics and information technology (MEitY), expressed their reservations on certain suggestions of the task force, chaired by then commerce secretary Rita Teaotia.
The task force had drawn criticism for its suggestions — including making necessary policy changes to enable founders of domestic e-commerce companies to have control even if their share-holding is small, allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in e-tailers that hold inventory of all locally-produced items and asking firms to store data locally within two years. Curbs on deep discounts and bulk purchases of certain items, and preference for RuPay have also been sticking points with some stakeholders.
Moreover, the task force’s selection of departments to implement its proposals had attracted opposition. For instance, while recommending up to 49 per cent FDI in online retailers that are holding inventory, the task -force delegated the implementation of such a policy to DIPP and the Enforcement Directorate. Similarly, the departments of corporate affairs and economic affairs have been tasked with the job of making necessary policy changes to enable founders of domestic e-commerce companies to retain control even with a tiny stake. —FE