CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday urged Centre to enact an omnibus e-commerce law to cover Business to Business (B2B), Consumer to Consumer (C2C) and Business to Customer (B2C) transactions with a view to protecting consumers besides providing a level playing field to all players in the retail space.
Speaking at the stakeholder consultation meeting on formulation of suitable guidelines on e-Commerce transactions held at New Delhi MC Sampath, Minister for Commercial Taxes and Registration said any policy action by the Centre must holistically address the issue and not confine itself to a limited area of only B2B transactions. Regulatory oversight to prevent concentration of market power in a few hands should be ensured.
“Interest of consumers should be protected by mandating that e-commerce platforms must declare the name, address and contact details of every online seller on such platforms. A monitoring mechanism has to be put in place to ensure that FDI regulations are not violated or bypassed by e-commerce platforms or sellers, harming the interests of brick-and-mortar retailers”, the Minister added.
Stating that the misuse of B2B platforms to enable B2C transactions would upset the level playing field between brick-and-mortar or physical stores and e-commerce entities, the Minister said “this is completely unacceptable to us.”
He also pointed out that almost all e-Commerce players appear to be circumventing the FDI policy by adopting a marketplace model. The market place model is a clear ploy to circumvent the FDI norms in B2C.
“While there are no official definitions of such models, there appears to be an effort to convey that e-commerce players are only intermediaries facilitating the sale of goods owned by a seller to a purchaser without getting into the element of ownership of such goods, and hence do not amount to retail trader.
This does not appear acceptable. The definitions need to be worked out in such a way that the intended policy of restricting and regulating FDI in retail trade does not get suborned by definitional loopholes”, the Minister added.