Bengaluru: Data localization will be one of the major focus areas of the new draft e-commerce policy that is expected to be put out by the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) as early as next week, said two people familiar with the matter, requesting anonymity.

“The draft of the policy is ready, just has to go through the final approval," said the first person cited above. “This draft, which is expected to stress on data localization, will be open to public consultation."

The development comes at a time when e-commerce companies, including Flipkart and Amazon India, are making several structural changes following the implementation of the foreign direct investment (FDI) guidelines, which did not allow e-commerce companies with foreign investment to have an equity stake in seller entities on its platform, among other restrictions.

The department of commerce had come out with a draft e-commerce policy in July, but the DPIIT was made the nodal agency for e-commerce initiatives in September. It has since been working on this draft.

Meanwhile, community network LocalCircles conducted a survey with customers to understand what the users expect from the upcoming e-commerce policy, most of which may be included in the draft.

“According to consumers, the policy must be broad-based and cover all aspects of e-commerce, including electronic travel, food delivery, taxi, and social commerce," said Sachin Taparia, founder of LocalCircles. “The policy must also address key areas of product e-commerce such as minimising counterfeit products, improving integrity of reviews and ratings, preventing hazardous product sales and ensuring a standards-based customer service mechanism."

Email queries to DPIIT seeking a comment on the policy draft remained unanswered.

The government’s e-commerce draft policy, which was released last July, had focused on several aspects of the e-commerce business, such as barring group companies of e-commerce firms from directly or indirectly influencing sale prices and restrictions on the inventory model, among others. Some of these restrictions are now part of the updated FDI guidelines that were released as Press Note 2 in December.

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