The federal government desires to arrange an e-commerce regulator and pressure firms equivalent to Amazon to swiftly flip over info sought by authorities as a part of a brand new coverage being drafted, two sources acquainted with the plan informed information company Reuters.
The brand new coverage would be the authorities’s newest effort to tighten management over e-commerce and is more likely to increase compliance worries for high companies equivalent to Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart which might be already battling stricter overseas funding guidelines since final yr.
It comes at a time when the significance of such firms is rising because the coronavirus pandemic shuts down motion of individuals and causes a surge in on-line exercise.
The newly created regulator can be empowered to hunt any info from firms to implement the brand new coverage and even different legal guidelines within the nation aimed toward defending customers or guaranteeing truthful competitors on e-commerce, the sources stated.
The regulator can even have powers to impose penalties if the businesses fail to adjust to such info requests or rules, they stated.
The sources are conscious of the continued deliberations across the coverage however declined to be named because the discussions are non-public. India’s commerce ministry, which is drafting the coverage, didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Whereas the principles are being designed for e-commerce firms, they’re additionally more likely to apply to social media platforms equivalent to Fb Inc, whose income is linked to promoting and different technique of monetisation of customers’ information, the sources stated.
The coverage can even mandate an e-commerce firm to produce inside 72 hours info sought by regulation enforcement businesses, one of many sources added. It was not instantly clear what sorts of info might be requested by such businesses.
The federal government has had consultations on the proposed coverage with a number of tech firms in latest months, the second supply stated, with out naming any firm.
Amazon, Flipkart and Fb didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
The coverage continues to be being drafted and will undergo additional modifications.
Even earlier than the fillip to e-commerce offered by the coronavirus pandemic, India was seen as one of many world’s quickest rising e-commerce markets. E-commerce income this yr is predicted to succeed in $120 billion, triple its measurement in 2017, in accordance with India Model Fairness Basis.
The federal government has additionally been engaged on numerous insurance policies to extra strictly regulate information storage by expertise firms. For e-commerce, the brand new regulator will probably outline classes of e-commerce information that must be saved domestically inside India, the sources stated.
A senior commerce ministry official informed Reuters discussions have been being held on how e-commerce information needs to be regulated below the coverage, referring to it as a “advanced topic”.