Topic Of The Day:-“Strange Deal: On New E-Commerce Police”
The New E-Commerce Policy Betrays A Muddled View Of Online And Offline Retail
The Centre’s curiously timed attempt to ‘clarify’ foreign direct investment norms for e-commerce players could end up scuttlinginvestor interest in the sector that has attracted large foreign players and generated thousands of jobs. The fresh restrictionsand the clarifications on certain operational aspects could reinforce investor complaints about India being unpredictable in terms of policies. In March 2016, foreign investment up to 100% was allowed under the automatic route for e-com firms engaged in business-to-business transactions using the marketplace model — one where a firm sets up an enabling IT platform to facilitate trade between sellers and buyers. However, FDI was not allowed where the e-com player owned the inventory of goods to be sold, or for business-to-consumer purposes, barring a few exceptions. Now, the rules have been altered for players like Amazon or Flipkart (majority-owned by Walmart) that have made significant investments in India. The policy, to kick infrom February 1, 2019, could require a major overhaul in the business model and shareholding structures of such players. For instance, earlier a single vendor or its group firms couldn’t account for over 25% of sales in a marketplace; now the rules bar sales by any entities where the e-com firm has an equity stake. A vendor’s inventory will be deemed to be controlled by the e-com player if more than 25% of its purchases are from the latter or related firms. It’s not clear how this change will help meet the principle enunciated in the policy note — fairness and the creation of a non-discriminatory, level playing field.
Separately, any specialised back-end support for some sellers must now be extended to all vendors, while discounts, cash-backs and preferential subscription services have been made far trickier to implement. An e-commerce marketplace entity will not mandate any seller to offer a product exclusively on its platform under the new rules. But this doesn’t explain what to do when a seller voluntarily opts to sell exclusively on one e-commerce portal over another. The government is clearly keen to quell the long-brewing disquiet among offline retailers over big discount sales and the surge in e-commerce. Yet, it could have waited for the recommendations of a national e-commerce policy task force set up this April. That task force could trigger more policy shifts. India’s retail FDI policy remains muddled — with the debate now focussing on online vs offline trade as opposed to big vs small, or a single brand vs multi-brand retail FDI regime. Globally, India has been taking on protectionism, and this month the Finance Minister said free trade is essential, so consumers get the best deal everywhere. The same consumer focus and non-protectionist tenets must be applied for internal trade.
MEANINGS AND WORDS
Meaning: Make (a statement or situation) less confused and more comprehensible.
Synonyms: make clear, shed light on
Antonyms: confuse, obscure
Example: “The report managed to clarify the government’s position”
Meaning: deliberately cause (a scheme) to fail.
Synonyms: scamper, scurry, scramble
Example: “the ship was scuttled by its German prize crew, who took to the boats”
Meaning: the limitation or control of someone or something, or the state of being restricted.
Synonyms: limitation, limit, constraint
Antonyms: Liberation, Freedom
Example: “there will be no restriction on the number of places available”
Meaning: not able to be predicted; changeable.
Synonyms: Unforeseeable, Undivinable
Antonyms: Predictable, Reliable
Example: “the unpredictable weather of the Scottish islands”
Meaning: make (an action or process) easy or easier.
Synonyms: make easy/easier, ease, make possible
Example: “schools were located in the same campus to facilitate the sharing of resources”
Meaning: a complete list of items such as property, goods in stock, or the contents of a building.
Synonyms: list, listing, catalogue.
Example: “a complete inventory of all their belongings”
Meaning: except for; if not for.
Synonyms: except for, with the exception of, excepting
Example: “barring accidents, we should win”
Meaning: change in character or composition, typically in a comparatively small but significant way.
Synonyms: change, make changes to, make different
Antonyms: Stay, Ruin
Example: “Eliot was persuaded to alter the passage”
- Kick In
Meaning: come into effect or operation.
Synonyms: Chip In, Commit
Example: “the hospital’s emergency generators kicked in”
Meaning: a thorough examination of machinery or a system, with repairs or changes made if necessary.
Synonyms: service, maintain, repair
Antonyms: Break, Destroy
Example: “a major overhaul of environmental policies”
Meaning: regard or consider in a specified way.
Synonyms: regard as, consider, judge, adjudge
Antonyms: Disbelieve, Forget, Ignore
Example: “the event was deemed a great success”
Meaning: occurring or situated nearer to the end of something than to the beginning.
Synonyms: later, hindmost, closing
Antonyms: Beginning, Initial
Example: “the latter half of 1989”
Meaning: express (a proposition, theory, etc.) in clear or definite terms.
Synonyms: express, utter, state
Antonyms: confine, Deny
Example: “a written document enunciating this policy”
Meaning: put (a decision, plan, agreement, etc.) into effect.
Synonyms: execute, apply, put into effect
Example: “the scheme to implement student loans”
Meaning: (of an unwelcome event or situation) begin to develop.
Synonyms: develop, gather force, loom
Example: “there was more trouble brewing as the miners went on strike”
Meaning: confuse (a person or their thoughts).
Synonyms: bewilder, confuse, bemuse
Antonyms: enlighten, clear, lucid
Example: “Paul was hopelessly muddled by the rates of exchange”
Meaning: a principle or belief, especially one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy.
Synonyms: principle, belief, doctrine
Antonyms: Disbelief, Doubt, Reality
Example: “the tenets of classical liberalism”