Govt starts exercise to frame a comprehensive policy on e-commerce

The 70-member think-tank will discuss issues including aspects of e-commerce, digital economy, physical and digital infrastructure, regulatory regime, taxation policy, FDI, and trade-related aspects

The government has started the exercise to frame a national policy on e-commerce, with a think-tank constituted on the issue under the chairmanship of commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu set to hold its first meeting here on Wednesday.

Senior officers of various ministries and departments, representatives from industry bodies, e-commerce companies, telecommunication and IT firms, RBI and independent experts have been invited to participate in the meeting, the commerce ministry said in a statement. The think-tank, it said, will provide a platform for an inclusive and fact-based dialogue leading to recommendations for informed policy making so that the country is adequately prepared to take advantage of the opportunities and meet the challenges that would arise from the next wave of advancements in digital economy.

The group “will seek to collectively deliberate on the challenges confronting India in the arena of digital economy with a view to developing recommendations for a comprehensive and overarching national policy on e-commerce,” it said.

Issues that will be discussed during the meeting include aspects of e-commerce, digital economy, physical and digital infrastructure, regulatory regime, taxation policy, data flows, server localisation, intellectual property rights protection, FDI, and trade-related aspects.

“Developments on e-commerce at the WTO and evolving appropriate national position on the underlying issues, would be another important dimension of the discussions of the think tank on the framework for national policy on e-commerce,” it added. The think-tank will explore options for providing a fillip to entrepreneurship in digital economy. It will identify specific policy interventions for nurturing domestic firms and create jobs in e-commerce, it said.

Representatives of almost fifty organisations are expected to participate in the first meeting of the think-tank. The setting up of the about 70-member body assumes significance as cross-border digital trade is growing at a faster pace and developed countries want an agreement on e-commerce trade under the aegis of the World Trade Organisation.

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