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No plans to regulate e-commerce, government inform parliament

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The central government has no proposal under consideration for constituting an independent regulating authority for e-commerce platforms, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash informed Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

This was in reply to a question on whether the government proposes to constitute an independent regulator for e-commerce platforms. Currently, the e-commerce sector is governed by a comprehensive legal and policy framework including Consumer Protection Act, 2019; Competition Act, 2002; Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017; Information Technology Act, 2000; Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007; Companies Act, 2013; Copyright Act, 1957 etc.

FDI Policy and Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 contain provisions related to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the Department of Consumer Affairs 2020 notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

These rules specify the duties and liabilities of sellers on marketplace-based e-commerce entities and inventory-based e-commerce entities, including consumer grievance redressal related to it. It includes no e-commerce entity shall adopt any unfair trade practice, whether in the course of business on its platform or otherwise.

Every e-commerce entity shall establish an adequate grievance redressal mechanism having regard to the number of grievances ordinarily received by such entity from India, shall appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal, and shall display the name, contact details, and designation of such officer on its platform, the gazette notification had said.

Further, an e-commerce entity offering imported goods or services for sale must mention the name and details of any importer from whom it has purchased such goods or services, or who may be a seller on its platform.

Notably, no e-commerce entity shall manipulate the price of the goods or services offered on its platform in such a manner as to gain unreasonable profits, the gazette read.

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