Draft e-commerce policy

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The government has released the draft e-commerce policy. The policy focuses on six broad issues of the e-commerce sector, which includes
  • data,
  • infrastructure development,
  • e-commerce marketplaces,
  • regulatory issues,
  • stimulating domestic digital economy and
  • export promotion through e-commerce.
Features of the Policy
The important features of the policy are:
  • Every e-commerce company will have to construct a registered business entity in India as the importer on record or as the entity through which all sales in India are transacted. This is aimed at ensuring compliance with extant laws and regulations for preventing deceptive and fraudulent practices, protection of privacy, safety and security.
  • e-commerce companies are mandated to disclose seller details such as their name, address and contact numbers. Sellers will also be required to provide an undertaking to the platform on the genuineness of their products.
  • Trademark (TM) owners will be given an option to register themselves with e-commerce platforms and whenever a trade-marked product is uploaded for sale on the platform, the platform shall notify the respective TM owner.
  • The policy says that framework will be created to provide the basis for imposing restrictions on cross-border data flow from specified sources including data collected by IoT devices installed in public space, and data generated by users in India by various sources, including e-commerce platforms, social media, search engines.
  • The policy grants data the status of the capital. The policy imposes conditions on a business entity that collects or processes any sensitive data in India and stores it abroad.
  • The conditions state that all such data stored abroad shall not be made available to other business entities outside India, for any purpose, even with customer consent.
  • The policy further stipulates that the data shall not be shared with a foreign government, without the prior permission of Indian authorities.
  • The policy calls for a Suitable framework for sharing of community data that serve the larger public interest (subject to addressing privacy-related issues) with start-ups and firms. The implementation of this shall be undertaken by a ‘data authority’ to be established for this purpose.
  • The policy stresses on developing physical infrastructure for a robust digital economy and suggests steps for developing the capacity for data storage in India.
  • The policy aims to invite and encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in the marketplace model alone.
  • The policy mandates the online marketplaces not to adopt business models or strategies which are discriminatory and which favour one or few sellers/traders operating on their platforms over others, the draft clarifies. The policy also enlists certain steps which have to be followed by all e-commerce websites/applications.
  • On the issue of taxation related issues in the sector, the draft policy mentions the current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions must be reviewed in the light of the changing digital economy and the increased role that additive manufacturing is expected to take.
  • On export promotion through e-commerce, the policy states that there is a need to incentivise and reduce administrative requirements for outbound shipments through this medium.
  • The policy calls to raise the cap of each export order placed online and dispatched through courier or postal mode from current 25000 to make Indian e-commerce exports attractive even for high-value shipments through courier mode.

National Policy on Software Products – 2019

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National Policy on Software Products 2019
  • The policy is aimed at developing India as a Software Product Nation. An outlay of Rs 1500 crore divided into Software Product Development Fund and Research & Innovation fund is envisaged to implement the programmes/ schemes envisaged under this policy over a period of 7 years.
  • The Policy is aimed at giving a direction for the formulation of several schemes, initiatives, projects and measures for the development of Software products sector in the country as per the roadmap envisaged therein.
Five Missions of the National Policy on Software Products – 2019
  • To promote the creation of a sustainable Indian software product industry, driven by intellectual property (IP), leading to a ten-fold increase in India’s share of the Global Software product market by 2025.
  • To nurture 10,000 technology startups in the software product industry, including 1000 such technology startups in Tier-II and Tier-III towns & cities and generating direct and indirect employment for 3.5 million people by 2025.
  • To create a talent pool for software product industry through (i) up-skilling of 1,000,000 IT professionals, (ii) motivating 100,000 school and college students and (iii) generating 10,000 specialized professionals that can provide leadership.
  • To build a cluster-based innovation-driven ecosystem by developing 20 sectoral and strategically located software product development clusters having integrated ICT infrastructure, marketing, incubation, R&D/testbeds and mentoring support.
  • In order to evolve and monitor scheme & programmes for the implementation of this policy, the National Software Products Mission will be set up with participation from Government, Academia and Industry.
The Indian IT Industry is predominantly a service Industry. It is necessary to move up the value chain through technology-oriented products and services to ensure sustainability. Hence to create a robust software product ecosystem the Government has approved the National Policy on Software Products – 2019 to develop India as the global software product hub, driven by innovation, improved commercialisation, sustainable Intellectual Property (IP).

National Supercomputing Mission

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National Supercomputing Mission initiated in 2015 is being implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) at an estimated cost of Rs.4500 crore over a period of seven years.
Objectives of the Mission
  • The Mission envisages empowering India’s national academic and R&D institutions spread by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.
  • To bring supercomputing within the reach of the large Scientific & Technology community in the country.
  • To provide a significant qualitative and quantitative improvement in R&D and higher education in the disciplines of Science & Technology.
  • To enable the country with a capacity of solving multi-disciplinary grand challenge problems.
The mission envisages installing vast supercomputing grid comprising of over 70 high-performance computing facilities spread across the county.

Shakti microprocessor

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  • It is India’s first indigenous microprocessor.
  • Develop by IIT Madras.
  • It has been developed under project partly funded by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), as part of two-decade-old efforts to develop indigenous microprocessors.
  • Significance:
    • It will reduce dependency on imported microchips especially in communication and defence sectors and thus eliminate risk of cyber-attacks.
    • It can be used in mobile computing, wireless and networking systems.
    • It may also provide power to mobile phones, smart meters and surveillance cameras.

 

Basics:

Microprocessors are brain of all computing and electronic devices and are used to operate larger high-speed systems and supercomputers.

 

Draft National Policy on Electronics (NPE)

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  • Draft NPE aims to promote domestic manufacturing in entire value-chain of ESDM sector for spur economic development in the country.
  • It also aims to double the target of mobile phone production from 500 million units in 2019 to 1 billion by 2025 to meet objective.
  • It replaces existing incentive schemes like Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS), with schemes that are easier to implement such as interest subsidy and credit default guarantee etc.
  • It also takes into consideration interest subsidy and credit default guarantee in order to encourage new units and in expansion of existing units in electronics manufacturing sector.
  • The set target of $400 billion turnover under it, includes targeted production of 1 billion mobile handsets by 2025, valued at $190 billion (approximately Rs. 13 lakh crore) and also 600 million mobile handsets valued at $110 billion (approximately Rs. 7 lakh crore) for export.

  • It also proposes to push development of core competencies in all sub-sectors of electronics including electronic components and semiconductors, automotive electronics, defence electronics, industrial electronics, strategic electronics etc.
  • It also proposes to set up 20 greenfield and three brownfield electronic manufacturing cluster projects have been sanctioned with project outlay of Rs 3,898 crore, including Rs 1,577 crore from Central Government.
  • It proposes suitable direct tax benefits, including inter-alia investment-linked deduction under Income Tax (IT) Act for electronics manufacturing sector, for setting up of new manufacturing unit or expansion of an existing unit.
  • The proposal includes increasing tax benefits on expenditure incurred on R&D, enhancing rate of duty drawback for electronics sector, reimbursement of state levies and other levies for which input tax credit is not available, allowing duty free import of second-hand capital goods for electronics hardware manufacturing etc.
  • It also proposes cess on select electronic goods resources to promote certain critical sub-sectors of electronic manufacturing such as semiconductor wafer fabrication and display fabrication units.

Tech Giants Data Localisation

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Context

  • Indian government has asked Global Tach giants to set up local data centres.
  • In a fear that it will inhibit their growth aspirations in India with raising cost, the U.S. technology giants plan to intensify lobbying efforts against stringent Indian data localisation requirements.
  • Amazon, American Express and Microsoft, have opposed India’s push to store data locally.

ias4sure.com - Tech Giants Data Localisation

 

 

Issue Area

  • Data localisation is not just a business concern, it potentially makes government surveillance easier, which is a worry.
  • It could lead to increased government demands for data access.
  • Technology firms worry the mandate would hurt their planned investments by raising costs related to setting up new local data centres.
  • The issue could further undermine already strained economic relations between India and the United States.

Rumor Mongering

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Context:
  • WhatsApp, in India, has decided to put a cap on the number of chats one can forward a message to in one go. Users will be allowed to forward messages to only five chats at once as against 20 for the rest of the world.

 

ias4sure.com - Rumor Mongering

 
Facts:
  • WhatsApp noted that its users in India “forward more messages, photos, and videos, than any other country in the world”.
 
Govt Role in stoppings rumours:
  • The primary responsibility to fix this lies with law enforcement agencies. A mob takes the law into its hands if it believes that either law enforcement agencies are incapable/unwilling to help or that its crimes will go unpunished.
  • Law enforcement agencies shut down the Internet to prevent the forwarding of messages and possible riots. In 2017, according to data from the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), India had 70 Internet shutdowns.
  • An Internet shutdown is a suspension of the constitutional right to free speech; a disproportionate act of censorship of all speech in response to the actions of a few.
  • The data suggest that there are no shutdowns in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, while smaller towns bear the brunt of such actions. The lack of capacity of law enforcement agencies in smaller towns to deal with these situations is a worrying sign, especially in the run-up to elections
  • State governments need to build law enforcement capacity and ensure prosecution in case of mob violence. A new law covering lynchings will be ineffective if our criminal justice system is incapable of enforcing the law.
 
Good Idea: What WhatsApp should do?
  • Messages between individuals should remain private and not be those that can be forwarded.
  • However, if a message creator wants to enable the forward ability of that message, the chat should be treated as public, and attributed with a unique ID linked to the original creator. This will allow WhatsApp to shut down such a message across its network once it is reported and identify the creator when a court-directed request is made by law enforcement agencies.
  • It’s important to remember that incorrect or false information is not illegal and people could be mistaken. It is messages with incitement of violence that need to be addressed.
 
So, the government, law enforcement agencies, and WhatsApp, need to come together mob violence and lynching.
 

Digi Yatra initiative

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  • It is an initiative to make boarding pass and security check-ins digital at airports using Aadhaar and mobile phones
  • Under Ministry of Civil Aviation
  • In this, a digital mode for airport entry and verification of passengers would be used.
  • The move is aimed to ease the security and boarding procedure.

 

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Ratan P Watal Committee

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To suggest steps to promote card payments with an aim to discourage cash transactions.

Terms of reference:

  • Recommend various measures to incentivise transactions through cards and digital means, e.g., through tax incentives/rebates, introduction of cash back/lottery.
  • Review the payments system in the country and recommend measures for encouraging digital payments.
  • Study and recommend need for changes, if any, in the regulatory mechanism under various laws, relevant for the purpose of promotion of payments by digital modes.
  • Study feasibility of creating a payments history of all card and digital payments and ensure that merchants and consumers can leverage the data to access.
  • Study and recommend ways for leveraging Unique Identification Number (UID) or any other proof of identity for authentication of card and digital transactions.
  • Study introduction of single window system of payment gateway to accept all types of cards and digital payments of government receipts.
  • Look into the scope of integration of all government systems like Public Finance Management System, Bharatkosh, PayGov and eKuber.
  • Identify regulatory bottlenecks and suggest changes. Study global best practices in payments and identify possible market failures along with suitable interventions

Steps taken by government to promote cards:

  • The Cabinet had approved withdrawal of surcharge, service charge and convenience fee on card and digital payments.
  • It also approved mandating payments beyond a prescribed threshold only through a card or digital mode.

Recommendations:

  • The Committee has recommended medium term strategy for accelerating growth of Digital Payments in India.
  • The strategy must be backed with regulatory regime which is conducive to bridging the Digital divide by promoting competition, interoperability and open access in payments.
  • It also recommends inclusion of financially and socially excluded groups and assimilation of emerging technologies in the market.
  • It calls for need of safeguarding security of Digital Transactions and providing level playing to all stakeholders and new players who will enter this new transaction space.
  • It has suggested inter-operability of payments system between banks and non-banks, up-gradation of digital payment infrastructure and institutions.
  • It also recommends a framework to reward innovations for leading efforts in enabling digital payments.
  • Greater use of Aadhaar and mobile numbers for making digital payments as easy as cash.
  • Proposed to make regulation of payments independent from the function of central banking to give the entire digital payments boost.
  • Give Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems (BPSS) independent statutory status within overall structure of RBI.
  • Called for amendments to the Payments and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 to provide BPSS explicit mandate for competition and innovation, consumer protection, open access and interoperability, regulations on systemic risks and data protection.
  • Operations of payment systems like National Electronic Fund Transafer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) can be outsourced after a cost benefit analysis.

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