Centre for Internet & Society

Alternative Law Forum and IT for Change organized a public consultation on draft e-commerce policy on March 14, 2019 at Tony Hall, Ashirwad , Off St.Marks Road in Bangalore. Arindrajit Basu attended the event.

The newly created Department Promotion of Industry and Indian Trade has published a draft e-commerce policy ( [ https://dipp.gov.in/whats-new/draft-national-e-commerce-policy-stakeholder-comments | https://dipp.gov.in/whats-new/draft-national-e-commerce-policy-stakeholder-comments ] ) inviting public comments with a deadline of March end. All actors involved in commerce – from traders, to street vendors, to vendors selling on online platforms, apart from domestic and foreign e-commerce companies are greatly impacted by this new policy. At one level, this policy would determine the relative power among these actors vying for the Indian retail space. At another level, however, the draft policy is about who should own personal, social and commercial data that is behind e-commerce – whether people and communities about whom the data is or it can entirely be owned and appropriated by the e-commerce companies, mostly foreign ones, who collect the data. EU is also examining whether data about and around products put by sellers on online platforms is owned by the these sellers or by platforms. These are issues which need wide and deep discussions by all sections of society from traders , technology enthusiasts, lawyers, civil society and all others. However there is very little public discussions on the same. It is towards this end that we are organising this discussions. We would also like to explore possible inputs that different groups can make to the policy. The Joint Action Committee Against Foreign Retail and E-commerce is one group that has prepared some points on behalf of traders community, which are enclosed, and these too can be discussed at the meeting among others.

The discussion was a first of many more discussions. The participants of this consultation were researchers, lawyers, street vendors union representatives, traders associations representatives and others.

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