E-commerce platforms have urged the government to give them a few months to comply with the latest labelling norms as asked by the Centre. The 'country of origin' labels that the government has asked e-commerce companies would help the customer discern between a local and foreign-made product. The decision to label items came amid calls to boycott Chinese goods in the wake of the India-China border clash.
Online retailers such as Flipkart and Amazon sought a window of 4-5 months to comply with the order during a virtual meeting with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Reliance Retail, Jio Platforms, Tata Cliq, Snapdeal, Swiggy, Zomato, BigBasket and Grofers representatives were also present at the meeting, according to a report in The Economic Times.
The government has asked the companies to give feedback within a fortnight about the modalities after discussing them with the sellers.
A senior executive present at the meeting said that online marketplaces are not liable for product listings and that their liability is in building the technology that allows sellers to mention the country of origin.
Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and small manufacturers under the banner of Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) had proposed to make displaying the country of origin mandatory for online platforms while giving suggestions on e-commerce policy. The bodies claimed that 70 per cent of items sold on Amazon and Flipkart are of Chinese origin. They believe that the e-commerce boom is not benefiting the local manufacturers.
The government had also made it mandatory for sellers on government e-marketplaces to display the country of origin of the items. It said that products will be removed from the GeM if the sellers fail to update the field. Not only that the government is also mulling colour codes for desi and foreign-made products. This will be along the lines of green for vegetarian and red for non-vegetarian food items colour codes.