The government has asked ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart to display the country of origin on new products listed by sellers on their sites by August 1 and legacy items by October 1 without stipulating a deadline. The companies sought more time to implement the changes, which are part of the government’s plan to curb imports, at an online meeting with officials on Wednesday. The platforms said the measures should be introduced in a phased manner with the involvement of manufacturers and sellers in the process, said people with knowledge of the matter. The government will take a call on the final deadline soon, an official said.
Under the current law, there is no requirement to display country of origin on non-packaged goods. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will discuss introduction of the relevant legal provisions with the consumer affairs ministry on listing such information, said the people cited above. “No decision was taken — it was only a consultation and follow-up of the previous meeting. A deadline will be decided later because packaging issues come under the consumer affairs ministry,” said a government official aware of the details.
While Flipkart is understood to have suggested a deadline of August 15 to implement the required backend changes, Amazon sought 2- 3 months for the same, people present in the online meeting. “The government wants that new listings be updated by August 1 and the old ones by October 1 but it was decided that work on the new ones must begin as soon as possible,” said a company official after the virtual meeting with ecommerce companies.
Representatives of as many as 30 ecommerce sites including Amazon, Flipkart, Jio, Shoppers Stop, Croma, Snapdeal, Lenskart , Paytm, Grofers, Tata Cliq, Pharmeasy, 1MG, HomeShop 18, Swiggy, Zomato and Medikabazaar attended the call. The companies raised points related to the feasibility of the move and lack of clarity in the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules as they sought more time. At a meeting last month, the companies had said that displaying these details was feasible but on Wednesday, they flagged issues such as Covid-19 having hit MSMEs and technological hurdles in implementing requirements.