Representatives of offline retail trade led by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) have called upon the central government to immediately roll out e-commerce policy and National Retail Trade Policy.

Retailers want the e-commerce policy to have a provision of formation of an empowered regulatory authority similar to TRAI, SEBI & IRDA etc. to look into the alleged malpractices of online retail companies like Amazon and Flipkart. They also wanted a National Trade Policy for retail trade as e-commerce has a larger repercussion on retail trade.

At an Indian Trade conclave organised by CAIT in Delhi, retailers called for e-commerce rules under Consumer Protection Act and a fresh Press Note in place of Press Note 2 of FDI Policy of 2018 for greater control over e-tailers. The retailers accused the state governments of failing to take any action against the practices of online players even after gross suffering of GST revenue.

The trade conclave was attended by leaders of national associations related to traders, transporters, MSMEs, hotels & restaurants, travel, hawkers, mobile, FMCG, toys, electronics, direct selling, computer media, jewellers etc.

The conclave decided to press for an e-commerce policy that covers both foreign and Indian marketplace e-commerce companies. "Sellers registered on the marketplace should not be the related companies of the marketplace. Marketplace platform entities shall not, directly or indirectly, control inventory of the seller. Marketplace should not act as a whole-seller to their registered sellers. Marketplace e-commerce companies should not own brands or create their private label brands. Marketplace companies should not be allowed to exploit the provisions of FDI policy in Press Note 2 by registering their affiliate companies on their platform and allowing them to sell 25% of the goods," Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of CAIT, says. The retailers also want no marketplace entity to be allowed to act as an inventory-based e-commerce entity. "No inventory-based e-commerce entity shall register any third-party seller. Every marketplace platform must act in a completely neutral manner towards the sellers, consumers and other service providers. E-commerce entities shall provide non-discriminatory services to all its sellers and consumers," Khandelwal adds.

The organisations that attended the conclave have formed a "Save India-Save Trade Forum" which will reach out to other Federations, Associations, Chambers across the country for their support.

The organisations that attended the conclave include India Cellular and Electronics Association, (ICEA), All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA), National Restaurants Association of India,(NRAI), Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA), Computer Media Dealers Association (CMDA), MSME Development Forum, Federation of Indian Small and Micro Enterprises, (FISME), National Hawkers Federation, International Society for Small & Medium Enterprises (ISSME), All India Tours & Travel Operators Association (AITTOA), All India Toys Manufacturers Association, National Farmers Federation, All India Mobile Retailers Association, All India FMCG Dealers Association, All India Tea Producers Association, All India Footwear Dealers Association, Indian Paints & Coating Association, Organized Retailers Association (ORA), All India Food Grain Dealers Association, and All India Pulses Dealers Association, among others.

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