E-tail norms to protect consumers may hurt ease of doing business: IAMAI

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The model framework for the guidelines on e-commerce consumer protection will cause unnecessary compliance burden on e-commerce entities, and hence will negatively impact ease of doing business in India, industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said on Tuesday.

India jumped 14 ranks to 63rd position in the World Bank's "Doing Business" list released last month and was also among the top 10 progress making countries according to the multilateral agency in terms of ease of doing business.

E-commerce entities are already regulated by multiple authorities under the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy, the Legal Metrology Act, the Food Safety and Standards Act, the present Information Technology Act and the proposed draft National E-commerce Policy, said IAMAI which represents a wide spectrum of digital businesses in India.

"Each of these regulatory frameworks imposes different obligations and liabilities upon e-commerce entities, creating an atmosphere of regulatory uncertainty for the sector," it said.

The model framework does not distinguish between the different models of e-commerce and thereby certain suggested provisions are redundant or superfluous for certain business models.

The definition of e-commerce entity appears to be extending the scope of "e-commerce" beyond online marketplaces for goods and services by including 'digital content providers', which are otherwise not construed as being engaged in e-commerce, IAMAI said.

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