Govt asks for E-comm comments in 15 days

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Govt asks for E-comm comments in 15 days

The Centre and States have moved a step closer to resolving the nagging questions over regulation and taxation of the flourishing e-commerce industry.

At a meeting with her counterparts in States convened by Union commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman here on Wednesday, States were asked to give suggestions within 15 days to bring clarity on all the sticky issues and also on a proposal to allow foreign investment in business-to-consumer (B2C) e-tailing and in multi-brand retail trade (MBRT).

There is a confusion over whether the e-commerce trade is in the domain of the Centre or in that of the State Governments. This is because in the marketplace model, which as per home-grown e-commerce firms is what they have adopted, the e-tailer just creates an online platform to help connect buyers and sellers.

While there is ambiguity about whether the online companies are following a marketplace model or an inventory model, some are of the view that the Information Technology Act, which is under the Centre’s purview, is what should be governing the e-commerce trade.

“We are open to e-commerce and FDI but such a policy should benefit the small shopkeepers, small businesses/vendors and consumers. Tax issues will not be a problem once GST is introduced but the Congress is creating hurdles in that. Traders want GST as they know that this will help them,” Punjab industry and commerce minister Madan Mohan Mittal said.

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