Seller bodies to meet to list e-commerce policy feedback to govt

An AIOVA spokesperson said this feedback will be shared with the government and has also been shared with the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).

Seller associations such as the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) are set to offer feedback to the government on e-commerce policy, which includes calling for protection to independent sellers from the e-commerce platform itself becoming a seller after the draft policy recommended a limited inventory model for domestically-produced goods.

An AIOVA spokesperson said this feedback will be shared with the government and has also been shared with the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which is set to have a meeting in the capital on Wednesday regarding the policy.

The draft policy, which was circulated within the government think tank last week, highlighted the possibility of allowing a limited inventory-based B2C model for online sale of domestically produced goods, as long as the company is controlled by Indian management and foreign equity does not exceed 49%.

“A hybrid model consisting of the platform also acting as a seller cannot be allowed regardless of FDI norms. The market has to remain neutral,” the seller association has said in its recommendation.

Seller associations and trade bodies have earlier lamented being left out of the policy-making after the government constituted a think tank earlier this year comprising e-commerce companies as well as members of various government verticals.

The other recommendations by AIOVA, which represents over 3,000 online merchants, include a separate definition of e-commerce of retail goods, need for e-commerce selling to be considered as a separate formal industry and ways to avail formal loans based on the projection of retail sales, citing high costs of unsecured loans being brokered by platforms.

The body has also called for promoting exports through e-commerce platforms.

CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said apart from AIOVA, other online merchant associations, such as the All India Mobile Retailers Association, will also participate in the meeting on Wednesday, and their concerns along with the overall recommendations from the meeting will be shared with Union commerce minister Suresh Prabhu.

CAIT itself is looking to raise concerns around the inventory model, and will also ask for a definition of bulk purchases, among other issues, Khandelwal said.

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