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Commerce ministry to meet state representatives on Wednesday to discuss FDI in e-commerce

Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman

The Commerce and Industry Ministry will hold a series of meetings tomorrow with states on issues such as FDI in e-commerce, ease of doing business and promoting country’s trade.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will chair a meeting of states’ ministries to discuss issues related to foreign direct investment (FDI) in e-commerce retailing, definition of e-commerce and tax related matters, an official with the ministry said.

A separate meeting will be chaired by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) with state government officials on ways to improve ease of doing business in India.

The DIPP had earlier circulated a set of 285 questions to all the states in this regard. The move aims at ranking all the states on ease of doing business.

Further, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia will chair a meeting of state government officials to discuss ways to actively engage them to promote India’s exports.

Seeking to involve states for promoting exports, the commerce ministry had asked them to appoint commissioners and prepare export strategy.

On FDI in e-commerce, the DIPP has already consulted banks, seven ministries and the industry. The Commerce Ministry would come out with a detail clarification on the issue, as brick and mortar shops have raised serious concerns over the domestic e-retail players.

At present, 100 per cent FDI is allowed in business-to- business (B2B) e-commerce and not in the retail segment.

Global retail giants as well as domestic e-retailers want the government to relax the foreign investment norms in the the space.

Global players are looking at India as it is one of the fastest-growing markets in Asia-Pacific, along with China.

Rise in Internet penetration, adoption of smartphones and lower data rates are completely changing the way India shops.

According to estimates, the sector’s market size is at around USD 5 billion annually. Analysts said online shopping is expanding at a massive rate.

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