National Retail Trade Policy
National Retail Trade Policy
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has proposed to formulate the national retail policy to promote the growth of domestic trade. This policy will streamline the retail trade and promote ease of doing business in the retail trade sector. In this article, we look at the National Retail Trade Policy in detail.
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The objectives of the National Retail Trade Policy are listed below:
- To promote e-commerce all over the country.
- To leverage retail trade as a tool for socio-economic development of the country.
- To encourage skill development and create more employment opportunities for all sections of society involved in retail trade.
- To identify and address existing infrastructure gaps affecting the retail trade industry.
- To accelerate investment flow to underdeveloped regions across the country.
Fundamentals of Retail Trade Policy
The national retail trade policy should address the state and central level trader related aspects. This policy would address the following:
This Retail Trade Policy would address the issue of physical infrastructure in setting up of data centres along with power supply, connectivity etc. will be established by the relevant implementing agencies, while financing agencies would identify these as infrastructure that they would intend to support.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
This policy aims to encourage foreign investment in the marketplace and e-commerce platform, in which foreign investment has been made. Apart from facilitating foreign investment in e-commerce marketplaces, the FDI also takes into account the interests of traders, sellers, domestic manufacturers, MSMEs, start-ups and seeks to create a sustainable level in the retail industry.
Strategies Relating to e-Commerce Marketplaces
The below following would apply to all e-commerce websites or applications:
- The product shipments from other countries to India should be channelised through the customs route.
- An integrated system that connects Customs and India Post to be developed with better track imports.
- Any non-compliant e-commerce website will not be allowed to operate in India.
- All e-commerce apps or website in India should have a registered business entity in India as the importer on record through which sales in India are accomplished.
- All e-Commerce apps or website available to Indian consumers displaying prices in INR should have MRPs on all packaged products, physical products and invoices. Department of Consumer Affairs would evaluate violations and decide corrective actions for such apps or website.
- Business or Consumer payments from Indian banks and payment gateways to unauthorised and unregistered GST non-compliant apps should be excluded.
- E-commerce entities would be mandated to make full disclosure to the consumer regarding the purpose and use of data collection upfront, in a simplified and an easily understandable form on their websites or application interfaces.
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E-Commerce business would be required to undertake the following activities:
- The details of the seller should be made available on the marketplace app or website for all products, including the name of the seller, address and contact details.
- Sellers would provide an undertaking to the platform about the products they are selling, and the same must be made accessible to consumers.
- Trademark owners would be allowed to register themselves with e-commerce platforms. Whenever a trademarked product is uploaded for sale on the platform, and that would be intimated the owners.
- In the case of high-value goods, it is required to seek authorisation from the trademark owner before listing the product.
- In case of complaint received about a product is fake, then the same will be conveyed to the trademark owner within 12 hours. If the trademark owner informs about the product being sold on its platform and the seller would be notified regarding the same.
- The seller of this platform would agree to provide guarantee and genuineness of the products sold by the seller.
- The delivery of goods to the customers and customer satisfaction would be the responsibility of the seller.
- In case a customer makes a complaint about the product, then the marketplaces would have liability to return the amount paid by the customer.
Authentic Ratings and Reviews
There should be non-discrimination and transparency in the publishing of reviews and ratings. All reviews and ratings for verified purchases should be published as registered by the customer.
Consumer-Oriented Customer Service
The publication of email address and phone number for consumer grievances is compulsory for all e-Commerce app and websites.
An acknowledgement of consumer complaints to be placed as well as clear cut timelines for their disposal has to be performed. These timelines are to be displayed on the application or website.
Prevention of Sale of Prohibited Items
- The application or website where sale and purchase of products take place should display the product list, which is prohibited as specified by the DGFT or any other authority concerned.
- Sellers is required to provide an undertaking to the application or website that they are not involved in selling such products on the platform.
- If the case of selling prohibited products or the complaint is received, then the platform should immediately remove the prohibited product from the application or website within the prescribed time limit of 24 hours. In addition to the above, such sellers will be blacklisted from the platform if notified by the concerned authority.
Small Enterprises and Start-ups
The start-ups and small enterprises entering into the digital sector would be given with infant-industry status. The benefits to access the data could be provided to such enterprise and start-ups to ease the process and to provide the best practices and platforms.
The electronic system for redressal of grievances, including compensation available to the consumer electronically. Any transaction completed online must have an online system of grievances redressal to boost consumer confidence.
The issues related to payment processing and any other financial transactions which are related to e-commerce will be addressed to prevent theft, data-leaks and sensitive data and enable secure transactions.
Export Promotion through e-Commerce
The Government through schemes like Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS), Merchant Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and policies like repatriation of remittances out of exports through online payment gateway service providers (OPGSPs) has aimed to incentivise exports. Therefore, the Government of India should facilitate and promote exports through e-commerce but not only incentivising exports, but also by reducing administrative requirements and costs along with simplified procedures related to compliances.