Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, chaired the first meeting of the think tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce held on 24 April 2018. The meeting saw participation by senior officers of various ministries/ departments of the Government of India involved in different aspects of e-commerce, including by Secretaries’ of the Department of Commerce, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology;Chairperson of two regulatory bodies - Competition Commission of India and the TRAI; high level representatives from the industry bodies, e-commerce companies, telecommunication companies and IT companies; and independent experts.The Think Tank on the Framework for National Policy on E-commerce has been established recently by the Department of Commerce.It will provide a credible forum for an inclusive and fact-based dialogue leading to informed policy making, so that the country is adequately prepared to take advantage of the opportunities, and meet the challenges, that would arise from the next wave of advancements in the digital economy.
The Think Tank collectively deliberated on the challenges confronting India in the arena of the digital economy and e-commerce, with a view to developing a comprehensive and overarching national policy on e-commerce.Some of the issues that were discussed by the think tank included aspects of e-commerce and the digital economy like physical and digital infrastructure, the regulatory regime, taxation policy, data flows, server localisation, FDI, technology flows, skill development and trade-related aspects. Global developments on e-commerce and evolving appropriate national positions on the underlying issues, was another important dimension of the discussions of the think tank.One of the key outcomes of the first meeting of the think tank was the decision to constitute a task force for preparing recommendations for India's national policy on e-commerce. The task force will be divided into various sub-groups, comprising representation from the Government of India, e-commerce industry and experts with domain knowledge.The task force willfinalise its recommendations within six months.