New Delhi: E-commerce companies have told the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) that discounts on their platforms are being offered by sellers, who are free to run such schemes both in online and offline mediums, a senior official said on Monday.
“E-commerce companies have been telling us that the discounts are being given by the sellers and brand owners and when they come out with advertisements, they also make a disclaimer,” DIPP secretary Ramesh Abhishek said on the sidelines of an Amazon conference. He said sellers and brand owners can offer discounts both in online and offline mediums.
The comments come amid controversy over advertisements for discounts by online retailers like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal.
Offline players, including traders body CAIT, have in the past raised concerns over these discounts, alleging they infringe the e-commerce guidelines. As per DIPP guidelines, e-commerce marketplace players cannot directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services on their platforms and shall maintain a level playing field.
Responding to another query on the status of US-based technology giant Apple setting up its own stores in India, Abhishek said, “The company has to decide what they want to do.” There has been speculation that Apple has re-started its discussion with Indian government to explore the possibility of opening its stores here. In June this year, government had relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) norms by giving a three-year exemption from local sourcing to foreign players in single-brand retail and a five-year relaxation for ‘state-of-the-art’ and ‘cutting-edge’ technology.
He clarified that FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board,) would take a final call on whether a particular technology is ‘cutting-edge’, with inputs from ministries.
“Ultimately, FIPB will decide on it...Administrative ministries give their views, but the ultimate decision is that of FIPB,” he said.