The Indian government has introduced a new ecommerce policy draft which plans to appoint an e-commerce regulator to make the industry more competitive which could directly impact Amazon and Google’s India operations. The policy draft was prepared by the ministry of commerce’s department for promotion of industry & internal trade.
The proposed rules also mandate government access to online companies’ source codes and algorithms, which would help ensure against digitally induced biases by competitors. The draft would ensure the use of artificial intelligence by these companies.
According to the draft, the government, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, will define the categories of e-commerce that would require mirroring or localization. E-commerce companies will have to make the required available to the government within 72 hours, which could include information related to national security, taxation and law and order.
The draft policy also mandates e-commerce platforms to provide consumers the details of sellers, including phone numbers, customer complaint contacts, email and addresses. For imported goods, the country of origin and value of work done in India need to be clearly specified.
Also, foreign e-commerce companies providing live streaming services that use payment tokens need to be regulated to ensure that users route such transactions through formal and regulated payment channels.