India has been deliberating a new e-commerce policy for months amid complaints from brick-and-mortar retailers who allege online giants like Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart flout federal regulations. The companies have denied the allegations. According to a draught policy seen by media on Saturday, India would require e-commerce firms to treat sellers fairly on their platforms and ensure transparency, following criticism of big online companies' business practises.
Operators should be neutral in their interactions with buyers, according to the most recent draught of the policy paper. The policy would apply to Amazon and Flipkart, two of India's largest e-commerce companies, as well as domestic companies such as Reliance Industries, which plans to expand its JioMart online platform. A request for comment from all three companies was not immediately returned.
Separately, India is considering reforms to foreign investment laws that could push Amazon and other big sellers to restructure their relationships. According to people with direct knowledge, government officials are scheduled to meet with industry executives next week to discuss such laws. On Saturday, top government officials from various departments, including the commerce ministry had a meeting. It was uncertain when the book would be published and whether it would be subject to further revisions. Indian retailers have also complained about online retailers offering steep discounts that smaller retailers are unable to match. Flipkart and Amazon have stated they comply with all laws.