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Ecommerce industry seeks more time for feedback on draft rules

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The e-commerce industry is expected to ask the central government to hold industry-wide talks on the proposed rules, apart from considering only the written submissions.

Ecommerce industry seeks more time for feedback on draft rules
The e-commerce industry is seeking more time to submit feedback on the draft rules that were put out by the government last week, for which the industry has been given 15 days to share comments. CNBC-TV18 has learned that some industry associations have already written to the government with the request for an extension.
The Consumer Affairs Department had published the draft e-commerce rules on June 21 and sought feedback from the industry within 15 days (by July 6) by e-mail.
However, e-commerce players, who have held discussions with industry associations on the proposed rules, feel they need more time given the exhaustive list of rules that are part of the proposed amendment to the Consumer Protection (Ecommerce) Rules, 2020.
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CNBC-TV18 has learned that some of the industry associations have already written to the department seeking an extension of the deadline for feedback by at least a few more weeks.
The industry is also expected to ask the central government to hold industry-wide talks on the proposed rules, apart from considering only the written submissions.
"The changes proposed are extensive, and there are also several points that overlap with other existing provisions. We are hoping we get more time to assess the new draft rules and have a discussion with the government on these," a person with an industry association told CNBC-TV18, requesting anonymity.
The draft rules caught the industry by surprise last week as it proposes several significant changes, including the definition of e-commerce entities, which could include entities fulfilling e-commerce orders as well.
The proposed rules cite the definition of e-commerce entity as "any person who owns, operates or manages digital or electronic facility or platform for electronic commerce, including any entity engaged by such person for the purpose of fulfillment of orders placed by a user on its platform and any 'related party'."
The draft rules also look to limit flash sales by e-commerce players, with the government originally calling for a blanket ban on all-flash sales, which have become popular on e-commerce platforms. But the government later clarified that 'conventional sales' will be allowed, though the criteria have not been specified.
The draft rules also require e-commerce companies to register with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), and, a la the new IT Rules for intermediaries, require that e-commerce companies also appoint grievance redressal officers, chief compliance officers, and nodal contact persons.
The draft rules, if formalised, will require several changes to the tech backend of these e-commerce platforms as well. Companies will need to provide filter mechanisms relating to the origin of goods, and will also have to throw up suggestions of domestic alternatives to the listed products.