The CCAOI with the support of the Internet Society India Delhi Chapter (ISOC DEL) organised a webinar to discuss the National eCommerce Policy (draft policy) released by the Government on 18 March. The objective of the discussion was to inform various stakeholders of the provisions of the Draft Policy and to highlight issues of concern and encourage people to submit comments by 29 March.
The session was moderated by Amrita Choudhury and Subhashish Panigrahi and was attended by over 45 participants from different stakeholder communities across the country. The speakers participating in the session were Devika Aggarwal from NASSCOM; Ankit Anand from Reliance Jio; Nikhil Pahwa from Medianama; Parminder Singh from IT for Change and Dr. Mahesh Uppal from ComFirst (India) Private Limited. Smitha Krishna Prasad of the Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi provided an overview of the draft policy paper, which was followed by the speakers sharing their perspectives on the draft policy.
Most stakeholders felt there was a need to address the ambiguities in the draft policy so as to provide clarity to businesses and users engaging in e-commerce activities. The draft policy needed to be streamlined with all applicable statutes since the current form contains provisions in conflict with prevailing laws in India. Although the policy is an unenforceable document, several of the issues highlighted in it fall under the domain of existing regulatory frameworks and agencies. These regulators could bring into effect the recommendations of the draft policy by issuing appropriate directions. Therefore, the implementation process needs to be clarified. The draft policy must not become a complex document dealing with the intricacies of the conduct of e-commerce operations in India, but should suggest the favourable approaches to e-commerce and provide incentives to businesses to comply with the suggested approaches.