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New Delhi, NFAPost: The government had released a draft in February 2019 on ecommerce policy that had provided for regulating cross-border data flows, setting up storage facilities locally and establishing a ‘data authority’ to devise a framework for sharing community data.

Department for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra said that work is going on to draft a new e-commerce policy that will cover various crucial issues, ranging from data protection to consumer rights, and if required a regulator for the sector may be set up.

As per Guruprasad Mohapatra, it will also cover areas like the issue of counterfeit products sold via online platforms and packaging and rules of origin.

Counterfeit products

Commenting on the broad spectrum that will be covered under the new e-commerce policy, Guruprasad Mohapatra asked who should be accountable for counterfeit products sold through an e-commerce company? Data is an important issue.

“The entire data issue will be governed by what actually the data law will be, which is before Parliament. That is why we are not in a hurry to finalise it (the policy)… So, whatever will be the final outcome of that data bill, it will apply to everybody who will deal with data,” said Guruprasad Mohapatra.

He also mentioned that ecommerce is not just about foreign direct investment (FDI) in it; it covers a large spectrum of issues.

In February 2019, the government had released a draft ecommerce policy that had provided for regulating cross-border data flows, setting up storage facilities locally and establishing a ‘data authority’ to devise a framework for sharing community data.

Electronic transmission

Emphasizing on the point that the country and its citizens had a “sovereign right” over data, the policy rejects sensitive data to be collected and processed locally but stored abroad from being shared with foreign governments and businesses outside India or any such third party even with the consent of the customer.

The draft policy had also proposed to grant companies three years to set up storage. It also sought a review of the extant policy of exempting electronic transmission from customs duty “in the light of the changing digital economy and the increased role that additive manufacturing is expected to take”.

Subsequently, the government sought to revise the draft. According to the new draft policy that is being firmed up, the government may set up an investigation body to “holistically inquire” into the violation of various laws by e-commerce entities and initiate action.

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