Indian government announces a review of the e-commerce draft policy

The Indian government announced a review of the recently published draft e-commerce policy, following intense criticism from stakeholders, and in particular from the business sector. The Minister of Commerce, Suresh Prabhu, directed officials to address stakeholders’ concerns over the draft policy, which engendered the creation of a new group that will be chaired by the secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The group will likely hold its first meeting within a week. Some of the criticism faced by the draft bill was related to data localisation provisions – which stated that online retail firms should store user data exclusively in India over security and privacy concerns -, and to provisions aimed at curbing deep discounting. These provisions would prevent online retailers or marketplaces from directly or indirectly influencing the price or sale of products and services on their platforms. According to the government, a clear policy is seen as crucial to promote e-commerce nationally and to galvanise the consensus necessary to move towards a multilateral proposal at the World Trade Organisation.