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Opinion | An e-commerce policy based on assumptions is unlikely to fulfill our aspirations

The e-commerce policy needs to be forward looking and informed by ground realities. It needs to design well-thought out strategies through comprehensive stakeholder consultation.

March 04, 2019 / 11:43 AM IST

Pradeep S Mehta

It has been forecast that the ecommerce market in India would grow to $1.2 trillion by 2021, while the economy would by then have touched $5.0 trillion. Our Prime Minister has since doubled that figure so that India can target to become a $10 trillion economy by 2030.

If these are our aspirations, then as a nation, we have to think in a positive can-do manner on how we develop the markets to allow rapid growth through an open and competitive economy rather than return to autarky through protectionism and over regulation.

Here, let me take the example of the latest draft national ecommerce policy. There are several issues which will stifle growth as they would stifle competition. For example, data localisation. Many have already opposed it. In a globalising world, what happens to the data of a consumer when she purchases goods from abroad? We can't tell the consumer or the foreign supplier that any data generated will have to be deleted from their servers. We should also not root for fragmentation of data centers as it may adversely impact quality of services to consumers. India, being the one of the world’s largest consumer markets, should be wary of this fact.