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Monday, 17 December, 2018, 12 : 00 PM [IST]

Centre revives plan to check e-tailers’ discounts, freebies

According to The Times of India (TOI), the government has revived plans to put e-commerce players on a tight leash, including imposing checks on discounting and unbridled cashbacks and freebies, in a bid to clamp down on “predatory behavior.” 

The plans will approve and classify e-commerce players  ensuring reliability of their services. 

Sources told that the commerce and industry ministry is looking at ways to strengthen the e-commerce sector while safeguarding the interests of domestic retailers. Many of them are complaining about serious loss of business to “adverse competition” from e-tailers as well as the impact of demonetisation and goods and services tax. 

Lobby groups such as CAIT and Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an RSS affiliate, have taken up cudgels on behalf of local kirana and small shop owners.

Government officials, however, said the move was not meant to woo local traders and was instead aimed at putting in place a policy ahead of an expected push at
the WTO to regulate e-commerce globally, something that unites the US and China that are engaged in a bitter trade battle.

Although FDI has been ruled out, the issue around regulating e-commerce is back on the table, senior officials said, adding that details were yet to be thrashed out. “Globally, we have seen the disappearance of retail stores, be it book shops or smaller shops. Even large format sector has come under pressure,” said a source.

The decision to formalise has been taken considering the large number of players in the online space. Allowing the market to “operate unhindered” will allow “unscrupulous players” to vitiate the market through “unethical trade practices,” the government feels.

(Source: TOI)

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