Comment on the prevalence of anti-competitive practices in the Indian e-commerce sector.
The boom in the e-commerce sector has made life more convenient and easier. It has radically changed various aspects of our everyday lives ranging across traveling, entertainment, education, shopping, communication and even getting food.
- E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the Internet
- It comprises products, both digital and physical, and services traded on digital and electronic networks.
Benefits of e-commerce:
- Round the clock availability of virtual stores.
- Increased and fast accessibility.
- Wider range of options.
- No geographical barrier.
- Lower costs making it more competitive.
Anti-competitive practices of e-commerce:
- E-commerce giants have caused significant damage to small and medium online businesses by using predatory pricing strategies and huge discounts and cashbacks etc.
- The giant e-commerce companies deliberately reduce the prices to loss-making levels to acquire more customers and eliminate smaller players from the market.
- In the long run, it reduces competition and in turn will reduce the bargaining power of consumers, while subjecting them to arbitrariness of monopolistic conduct.
- Democratization of e-commerce space by promoting government-backed Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).
- Appointment of a Compliance Officer and a nodal contact person.
- Strong grievance redressal mechanism.
- Restriction on unfair trade practices and clear-cut definition of what constitutes Unfair Trade Practices.