Union Government constitutes Amitabh Kant committee to review e-commerce rules

The Union Government has decided to set up a committee to look at easing the policy regime for e-commerce players, including the rules for foreign direct investment (FDI).

The committee will be headed by Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog.

The other members in the panel will include officials from Union Commerce Ministry and Industry and Department of electronics and IT among others. Representatives from four states including Maharashtra and Karnataka will also be the members of the committee.

The terms of reference of the Committee

  • Examine various issues in e-commerce sector and making recommendations for further liberalisation of the policy.
  • Look into all issues including FDI norms pertaining to the fast growing e-commerce industry in the country.

There are issues related to e-commerce players selling pharmaceuticals and some e-commerce firms are facing taxation related problems in few states.

Setting up of this committee assumes significance as the Union Government recently had permitted 100 per cent FDI in food processing sector.  \The DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) has permitted 100 per cent FDI through automatic route in the marketplace format. But FDI has not been allowed in inventory-based model of e-commerce.



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  • hemen parekh

    Missing the Woods for the Tree ?
    One dictionary describes this idiom as :

    ” If someone can’t see the wood for the trees, they are unable to understand what is important in a situation because they are giving too much attention to details ”

    This is the danger facing a 12 member committee of government secretaries ( headed by Shri Amitabh Kant , CEO – NITI Aayog ), appointed to look into :

    # Liberalizing the E-Commerce policy to give a further boost to this sector
    # Rethink of Online Marketplace rules
    # Issues related to Foreign Direct Investment ( FDI )

    Economic Times ( 10 Aug, 2016 ) reports :

    # E-Commerce Market in India was $ 17 billion in 2014 and expected to grow to $ 70 billion in 2019
    # E-Commerce Sector suffers from lack of policy clarity
    # Attempts to create a level playing field with Offline Retail has shackled the sector
    # Committee will suggest measures to liberalize the sector
    # Rethink on Online Marketplace rules also likely
    # Committee will review complex regulations
    # Changes in FDI policy will also be suggested

    In 1905 , Albert Einstein published ” Theory of Special Relativity ” and by 1915 , he came out with ” General Theory of Relativity ”

    For him , it was like moving on from a TREE ( Special Theory ) to the WOODS ( General Theory )

    Obviously , he did not want to miss out on the larger picture by focusing on a single pixel !

    It is no different when it comes to the Laws governing ECONOMY

    ” E- Commerce and Foreign Direct Investment ” are the ” Special Theory of ECONOMY ” , whereas ” Commerce and Investment ” are the ” General Theory of ECONOMY ”

    And at this very moment , the Super-Ordinate Goal of our ECONOMY is :

    # Create millions of Self Employed ( 400 million to start with and 12 million per year , thereafter )

    E-Commerce and Foreign Direct Investments, are merely ” Means to achieve that End ” – no more

    It was only a few days back when Shri Amitabh Kant said in a TV interview :

    ” Laws / rules / regulations etc will need constant tweaking / revising , to remain relevant with the advancing technologies
    There is no way , the March of Technology can be halted . Laws must catch-up “.

    While debating the issues ,the Committee may want to keep in mind how following technologies will change the Commerce Landscape , within the next 2 years :

    # Everything ( Goods and Services ) will be marketed / sold online

    # No business / industry will , solely remain OFFLINE

    # When goods are not being delivered at your doorstep using Drones, your table-top 3D Printers will print out
    all kinds of Consumables ( including Food ! ), by downloading Designs from internet . Houses will be 3D printed

    # Services of all kinds ( Patient-care / Health care / Psychological / Consulting / Coding / Remotely operating
    Devices and Machineries / Teaching / Curating / Controlling Riots etc ) , will be carried out ( hopefully, by
    Indians if Committee takes the right , far-reaching decisions ), remotely from 10,000 Km away using Virtual
    Reality / Augmented Reality / Holographic Tele-presence / Hepatic gloves etc

    # Entire cycle of Designing / Manufacturing / Marketing / Selling / Order-taking / Delivering / After-sales Servicing
    / Logistics / Collecting Payments / etc , will get spread so thinly across Countries / Continents / Companies /
    Individuals , that it will become next to impossible to keep track of ” WHO ” is adding ” WHAT ” value to the
    process , and ” WHEN ” , and from ” WHERE ” ! No one will be able to unravel this GORDIAN KNOT !

    # Industrial Robots will play ever-increasing role at each step of this process , connected through IoT

    The best that the Committee can recommend is adoption of the following ,
    Parekh’s , ” 3 Laws of E-Commerce Economy ” – to be incorporated as 123rd Constitutional Amendment
    ( with apologies to Isaac Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics ! ) :

    LAW # 1 :
    Asimov :
    A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

    Parekh :

    Rules / Regulations of E-Commerce shall not come in the way of unfettered creation of SELF EMPLOYMENT

    Any existing Law / Rule / Regulation that hinders a person to become Self Employed, shall be treated as


    Further , any Law / Regulation of ” E-Commerce / FDI ” which slows down Investment ( Foreign or Local / Official

    or through channeling of BLACK MONEY ), shall be treated as ” bad in law ” and struck down

    LAW # 2

    Asimov :

    A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First

    Parekh :

    Laws / Regulations governing ” E-Commerce / FDI ” shall be subservient to Laws / Regulations governing

    ” Commerce / Investment ” .

    Whenever any Public Authority / Court finds conflict between the two , laws / regulations governing ” Commerce/

    Investments ” , shall prevail under all circumstances , and in favor of the self employed

    LAW # 3

    Asimov :

    A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

    Parekh :

    Laws / Regulations of ” E-Commerce / FDI ” which get over-ruled under LAW # 2 , shall immediately ” Self Destruct ”

    in favor of unobstructed progress of TECHNOLOGIAL ADVANCES

    Before drafting its recommendations , the Committee may want to look up my following specific suggestions at ,

    { http://www.hemenparekh.in > Blogs } :

    # In defense of FDI in Defense

    # Start-Up Eco-Systems / USA vs INDIA

    # A NEW ECONOMIC ORDER ? aka ” Start Up Act – 2015 ”


    # In Wonderland of Start Ups

    # Defining E – Commerce

    # FDI : By any other name ?

    # Making India a Tax Haven ?

    # E – Commerce is Easy Commerce !

    # FDI in India Post ?

    # 50 Million New Jobs in 5 Months ?

    # Level Playing Field ?

    # 3D Printed Office

    # Rejoice , You Self Employed !

    # How to stop the Start Ups !

    # Hire when you Need : Fire when you don’t

    # Create Self Employment

    # Robots , Robots Everywhere , Not a Soul to See !

    # Age of Automation

    # Tech World turning Imagination Real

    # Second Industrial Revolution

    # Back Factory of the World

    # Competitive Advantages are Transient

    # A Virtuous Circle

    Dear Committee Members :
    Please , overlook the TREE / focus on the WOODS !
    12 August 2016
    http://www.hemenparekh.in / Blogs