Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State, Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India, said that our country is not a market, it's a family. There must be enough grievance redressal mechanisms available for our consumers; our ministry is working towards it. The big players have been contributing to the growth of the economy but the small players are also playing a crucial role. Small businesses provide opportunities for employment as well as the growth of the economy. The government is working towards enabling MSME growth and increasing investments, and we shall reach newer heights. The industry has a big role to play in India's development.
Ms. Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary (Consumer Affairs), Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India said that the government is facilitating and making all efforts to ensure that the economy should improve, the compliance burden is reduced so that it brings ease to doing business. When we talk about consumer rights, we are creating a situation where it should be a win-win for all stakeholders. Eventually, there should be systemic ways in which consumer rights can be protected and safeguarded. Under the new consumer protection act, we've added provisions to provide speedy justice to consumers.
Consumer grievance officers should be readily available at marketplaces. As more and more people are approaching e-commerce sites, the platforms need to strengthen their consumer grievance redressal systems. We want to create shopping in India a nice experience. Buying from e-commerce entities should be safe, secure, and trustworthy. Our e-commerce rules are very simple. They list out the duties and liabilities of e-commerce entities. We don't want the e-commerce industry to feel threatened by overregulation in any way. We want e-commerce entities to be confident in their approach and follow best practices.
Dr. Aruna Sharma, Former Secretary, Government of India said that we must treat e-commerce as a platform at par with brick-and-mortar stores. The draft policy is leading to ambiguity and creating a lot of confusion in the market. For consumer protection, it must be mandated that e-commerce platforms should provide a robust framework for grievance redressal. E-commerce in India is no longer just FMCG. The pandemic brought in models like cloud kitchens and other hybrid models. Dr Sharma Dr Sharma further shared her views about the e-commerce platform and the measures to be taken to strengthen consumer protection. E commerce should be treated as a platform. Onus of consumer redressal should be on the sellers on the platform for faulty goods, payment gateways should be liable for payment related issues and facilitation of this redressal should fall on the platform. We must come up with a single policy to govern e-commerce. It's essential to ensure that the definition of e-commerce is crisp and concise. The policy must also provide for enough grievance redressal, quick replacements, and refunds in e-commerce platforms. E-commerce provides a lot of transparency with product descriptions that help the consumer make informed decisions. We want MSMEs to take advantage of e-commerce platforms, reach consumers and also partake in exports.
Mr. Mark Fellin, Head Product Trust & Regulatory Compliance, Amazon, said that Amazon is a customer-centric company. Regulatory compliance and product integrity is a top priority of our team. Our ultimate goal is that when a customer is shopping on Amazon, he/she has the safest experience ever. From a safety and compliance perspective, we have a proactive and reactive approach. We have detailed help agents providing information to our seller partners about the safety standards of operating on Amazon. When we find inappropriate listings, we remove such products so that consumers don't have a substandard experience. We have a deep commitment to working with all relevant stakeholders in India to resolve issues and set up systematic practices to ensure growth to a $5 trillion economy.
Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, President PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in his address said that Consumer confidence can only be built when the consumer is assured about the quality of the product and the service given by the e-commerce/online companies. The consumer from the small city and town is still not confident for opting for online shopping. There are several questions that come to the mind of consumer-like: whether the product displayed is of standard quality or not, whether I will get my product on time? Will it be the same as shown on the website? Will it I get the product safely without any damage? How long it will take to change the product if there is any problem? Will I get my money back? Will customer care be able to resolve my issues? Will it be returned? So the important concern is to work on these lines to motivate the small city consumer and build their confidence which will motivate them to go for online shopping.
Prof Bejon Misra , Chairman, Consumer affairs Committee, PHDCCI, said that E-commerce has been a big platform that played a key and pivotal role that ensured that consumers are not denied products and services without compromising safety and security. Retailers were able to survive during the pandemic by moving to e-commerce channels. It is predicted that we will see a 25-30% increase in e-commerce trade. While e-commerce is flourishing, we cannot ignore our brick-and-mortar retailers. We have to take everybody together and enable everyone to sustain, and policies must look to set global standards that ensure safety, quality and assurance to consumers.
Mr. Pradeep Multani, Sr Vice President, PHDCCI proposed formal vote of thanks. The government is doing all possible efforts in this direction. Since 2014, the Government of India has announced various initiatives, namely Digital India, Make in India, Start-up India, Skill India, and Innovation Fund. The timely and effective implementation of such programs will likely support the growth of E-commerce in the country. The policies are being made to protect consumer’s interests. Consumers in smaller cities are displaying similar buying trends as those in metros. More awareness and education of E-shopping is required to be given.
Dr. Yogesh Srivastav, Assistant Secretary General, PHDCCI moderator the session. PHDCCI’s webinar was supported by Annual Sponsors such as DLF India; Multani Pharmaceuticals; UFLEX; JK Tyre & Industries; Marble City; Paramount Cables; SMC Investments and Advisors; Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic; Comtech Interio; DCM Shriram Industries; Radico Khaitan; R.E. Rogers India; Ajit Industries; EaseMyTrip; Synergy Environics; Continental Carriers; Timberworkz; Jindal Stainless; Modern Automobiles; P S Bedi & Co; IFFCO and Hindware.
The conclave witnessed the presence of esteemed speaker, Mr Rajesh Maheshwari, CEO, NABCB; Ms Parul Gupta, Deputy Director, BIS; Ms. Deepika Sur, Project Manager, National Consumer Helpline; Mr. Ganesh Kollegal, AVP, Public Policy, Advocacy, Government Relations, Swiggy; Mr. Prahlad Kakkar, Chairman, India SME Forum; Mr. Vivan Sharan, Partner, Koan Advisory; Mr. Sachin Taparia, Founder, Local Circles; Mr. Lloyd Mathias, Angel investor and Business strategist.