With there being uncertainty over Indiaâ€™s e-commerce policy becoming a reality, the Confederation of All India Traders, the apex body that represents all traders in the country, has written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi explaining the issues the traders are faced with, thus highlighting the need for an e-commerce policy.
The main grouse CAIT has been having and which unsuccessfully took up with the CCI relates to the ecommerce platforms adopting predatory tactics. The charge is that these large ecommerce companies offer massive discounts on products sold through their platforms and have the deep pockets to write off the losses. This privilege and facility are not available to the offline traders, which has resulted in the lack of a level playing field. CAIT points out that these pricing practices are against FDI Policy 2016 Press Note No. 3 of the Government.
CAIT, in its letter has therefore asked PM Modi to first formulate a clear policy for carrying on ecommerce business in the country plus put in a regulator to oversee the implementation of the policy.
About the other demands that CAIT has placed before Narendra Modi, they want that the bank charges being collected from the traders for all digital transactions should be reimbursed to the banks directly by the government and the traders should be exempted from it. They want some tax concessions too, if they accept payments digitally instead of cash. Traders have even suggested a separate Digital Payments Promotion Board that will work towards encouraging customers to limit cash payments and move to the electronic payments mode.
Lastly, they have referred to the UP model, where all GST registrants are being offered a free insurance cover worth Rs 10 lakh for free and it should be extended to all traders countrywide.
Now it remains to be seen how the PM or the PMO will go about addressing the issue since it is in public knowledge that the DIPP has already put out a discussion paper on the proposed ecommerce policy and on the digital payments front, this government has been committed to the â€˜less cashâ€™ policy in principle, but if it will go to the subsidise banks on the charges it collects, that might be a different issue altogether.