The latest ecommerce policy draft has revealed steps that could help local startups and impose government oversight on how BigTechs handle data. According to Bloomberg, the Centre has been working on the policy for at least two years amid calls to reduce the dominance of BigTechs like Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
Under the rules laid out in a 15-page draft, the government would appoint an ecommerce regulator to ensure that the industry is competitive with broad access to information resources. The policy draft was prepared by the Ministry of Commerce’s Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade.
The proposed rules would enable government access to online companies’ source codes and algorithms, which the ministry believes would help in overcoming ‘digitally induced biases’ by competitors. The draft also comes to find out whether ecommerce businesses have ‘explainable AI’. Besides, hosting data overseas has also been highlighted in previous drafts, as it received critiques for being heavy-handed in helping local startups at the expense of others.
Therefore, ecommerce firms will be mandated to make data available to the government, which could include information related to national security, taxation, and law and order. Regarding imported goods, the country of origin and value of work done in India should be clearly specified. Furthermore, foreign ecommerce companies providing live streaming services that use payment tokens must be regulated to make sure that users’ transactions are secured, Bloomberg reported.