The government is set to release the second draft of the proposed e-commerce policy soon, which would focus on domestic traders and have more scrutiny on predatory pricing, multiple people in the know said.

While no decision has been taken on the deadline for the final policy, sources said Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra is set to hold a review with his team in the next few days to take stock of the draft policy and submit it to the commerce minister.

Sources add that the DPIIT is planning its own set of recommendations on data localisation and non-personal data, independent of those laid out in the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019. “Data localisation remains a big concern and despite there being broad government norms on the issue, it would have to be tailor fit for the e-commerce sector,” an official said.

Pricing — a prime complaint of domestic retailers — is set to be the focus, with the government considering an annual review of discounts given by e-marketplaces.

The initial draft of the policy had proposed a sunset clause for predatory pricing that included zero-payment offers, flash sales and unlimited offers. It had also sought to define these practices and set fixed norms for each but despite multiple inter-ministerial consultations, work on this front has moved slowly. Officials say the new policy will definitely put a cap on pricing and penalties will be outlined for transgressors. Information about pricing may also need to be submitted in advance.

The new policy could make it difficult for a lot of e-commerce firms to continue with their current business models, which many allege are distorting market dynamics.


Read More: