Government wants shopping sites to display 'origin country' of products
Amid calls to boycott the foreign goods, especially those from China, to make way for Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Government of India is looking to have 'origin country' of products displayed across online shopping portals. The Centre has asked e-commerce companies to start implementing the change starting next month. But, the firms have pushed back, saying that the deadline is not feasible. Here's more.
Proposal for displaying country of origin for products listed online
In a recent meeting with officials from close to 30 e-commerce firms, including Flipkart and Amazon, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) expressed the intention to have the country of origin of products displayed. The department proposed it wants e-commerce firms to start displaying these details for new product listings by August 1 and for existing products by October 1.
Goal to cut imports, final decision yet to be taken
By display origin country, the government hopes to ride on the vocal for local sentiment and cut down the imports of foreign goods. However, as of now, the timeline has not been finalized, given that retailers have pushed back against the suggested deadline, saying that they need more time, and this transition should be executed in phases with the involvement of manufacturers, sellers.
Also, legal provisions have to be discussed
Along with the resistance from e-commerce companies, DPIIT also has to iron out relevant legal provisions to make it mandatory for manufacturers and sellers to display origin country on their products listed online. Currently, there is no requirement to display origin country on non-packaged goods but the department is looking to hold discussions with the Consumer Affairs Ministry to get that changed.
Here's what a DPIIT official told HT on the matter
"We heard the views of the e-commerce players. A date for implementation of the 'country or origin' proposal has not been finalized yet. We will consult with the Department of Consumer Affairs before taking a final call as packaging is their domain."
Big players requested 2-3 months' time
According to reports, both Amazon and Flipkart, India's biggest e-commerce players with lakhs of sellers, expressed they need around 3 months' time to make this change and rule out people and technology-related hurdles. Apart from these two, the meeting was also attended by representatives from Jio, Shoppers Stop, Croma, Snapdeal, Lenskart, Paytm, Grofers, Tata CLiQ, Pharmeasy, 1MG, HomeShop 18, Swiggy, Zomato, and Medikabazaar.
New listings' work to begin ASAP, said one meeting member
"Since most companies said it wasn't feasible to implement this, they've asked us to start working on introducing country of origin for all new listings ASAP, and said they will come back to us in a few days' time," said an executive of an e-commerce company.