A welcome spike |TH
- India began the week with a record, by administering over 8.6 million doses of vaccine on a single day, an impressive feat even from a global perspective.
- For most of May, India struggled to deliver over 2 million doses a day and beginning June, managed to hike it to over 3 million doses daily.
- The benefits of mass vaccination would be discernible only after a large percentage of the population is inoculated.
- India is a global laggard with only 17% of the population covered by at least one dose and less than 4% by two.
- The U.S., in comparison, has inoculated at least 53% and the U.K. 64% with a single dose.
- So far, about 25% of them have been administered at least one dose and to reach the 944 million adult population, it requires above eight million jabs every day until the year-end.
- While India has, as part of its polio vaccination programmes, administered vaccines to millions of children in a day, a one-day record is not evidence that the trend is sustainable.
- Most States substantially increased their daily count on June 21 but three stand out: Haryana, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
- To substantially increase vaccination, both the number of vaccination sessions and doses administered must increase.
- India’s vaccination programme primarily rests on the shoulders of Covishield and by August the numbers of Covaxin are expected to at least equal the monthly supplies of Covishield.
- The threat of a third wave and new forms of the delta variant make speedy, complete inoculation a priority, and this ought to be the driving force of India’s vaccination programme.
A Policy Mess | ToI
- Two parallel developments have the potential to significantly influence the operating conditions of e-commerce platforms.
- In Karnataka, Flipkart and Amazon have filed separate petitions challenging the high court’s recent decision to allow Competition Commission of India (CCI) to investigate them.
- Separately, GoI this week introduced a draft of proposed amendments to e-commerce rules that aim to kill discounts and promote Indian merchandise.
- Globally, regulators have to deal with a unique feature of e-commerce retail platforms.
- These platforms are both players and referees as they provide the marketplace and also compete directly with other sellers using it.
- Checking “self-preferencing” by platforms is the overarching regulatory goal.
- Marketplace e-commerce firms are allowed to be only a technology platform, without other commercial interests.
- However, both CCI and GoI are uncomfortable with deep discounts offered on the platforms.
- CCI says that an “asymmetry” of bargaining power between the platforms and numerous sellers can result in discriminatory discounts.
- There’s a level of unwarranted micromanaging, ostensibly to help domestic firms.
- Also, there is needless confusion about flash sales.
- The Indian consumer will be the loser here.
- The micromanaging comes in the form of getting the e-commerce platform to suggest domestic alternatives to imported goods or services.
- These proposals will only create a new set of problems and possibly prop up some inefficient competitors.
Why E-commerce Is Upset Over New Draft Rules | ToI
What are the big takeaways from draft rules?
- New draft rules were not issued by commerce and industry ministry.
- Consumer affairs ministry issuing the draft, and ‘explaining’ that proposed rules deal with ‘unfair’ trade practices that hurts customers, may be an attempt to give this intervention a gentler avatar.
- That is, make draft rules appear to not be a product of online-offline battle.
- Unlike the last set of rules issued by commerce ministry this draft doesn’t distinguish between foreign and domestic e-commerce.
- So, new rules, if adopted, will apply to Amazon and Flipkart as well as to, say, Reliance’s and Tata’s e-commerce ventures.
What are the biggest confusions?
- Late on Monday GoI issued a clarification that flash sales were not banned, as stated in the notification.
- The clarification said, “only specific flash sales or back-to-back sales which limit customer choice, increase prices and prevent a level playing field are not allowed.”
- E-commerce players are unclear what a ‘conventional’ flash sale would entail.
- GoI said e-commerce companies won’t have to ‘disclose’ flash sales data, and that discounts that ‘benefit’ consumers won’t be banned.
- Draft rules said no related parties and associated enterprises should be listed as sellers on marketplaces.
- This is confusing because an earlier set of rules issued by commerce ministry had forced companies like Amazon to bring down their shareholding in what they called preferred sellers to 24%.
- Do new rules mean any shareholding by e-commerce companies in any seller is now banned?
What else is upsetting e-commerce players?
- The one on fall-back liability that makes the e-commerce marketplace liable for the sellers’ activities on many accounts.
Why so much attention on e-commerce, has it grown really big?
- A recent report by Statista, mapping India’s e-commerce market, said that pre-pandemic the share of e-commerce in retail was 6%, but during the peak pandemic period it went up to almost 10%, and has now stabilised at 5%.
- ompare that to the US market, which had an e-commerce penetration of 11% before Covid-19, which increased to 22% during the months when the pandemic was pretty severe and has now settled at 17%.
So, why are there so many rules about an industry that has only 5% market share?
- At least partly this is because of strong lobbying by brick and mortar retail trade, which has been complaining that e-commerce has been taking away their business via ‘unfair’ means.
- It will be interesting to see how these arguments develop after domestic e-commerce players, Reliance and Tata, scale up their operations and start competing vigorously with Flipkart and Amazon.
Are Amazon and Flipkart under other forms of scrutiny?
- Yes, they are.
- The Competition Commission of India wants to conduct antitrust probes to investigate business practices of Amazon and Flipkart.
- That battle is in the courts for now.
Policy creep | TH
- Barely 11 months after the Government notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, the Department of Consumer Affairs has mooted a set of sweeping amendments, ostensibly “to protect the interests of consumers... and encourage free and fair competition in the market”.
- Among them is a norm stipulating the appointment of a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies, and another requiring e-commerce entities offering imported goods or services to ‘incorporate a filter mechanism to identify goods based on country of origin and suggest alternatives to ensure a fair opportunity to domestic goods’.
- Registration has also been made mandatory for all e-commerce players.
- All entities must provide information within 72 hours on any request made by an authorised government agency probing any breach of law including cybersecurity issues.
- The draft e-commerce amendments show the Government’s increasing keenness to exercise greater oversight over all online platforms.
- The Centre also appears to be signalling its intent to dig in its heels in an intensifying stand-off with Walmart’s unit Flipkart, and Amazon.
- The enforcement of many of these norms is bound to spur protracted legal fights.
- Overregulation with scope for interpretative ambiguity risks retarding growth and job creation in the hitherto expanding e-commerce sector.
- Indian naval ships participate in passage exercise with US Navy
- Indian Naval Ships Kochi and Teg along with P8I and MiG 29K aircraft are participating in a Passage Exercise with US Navy Carrier Strike Group Ronald Reagan during its transit through Indian Ocean Region today and tomorrow.
- The Indian Naval warships along with aircraft from Indian Navy and Indian Air Force will be engaged in joint multi-domain operations with the Carrier Strike Group.
- PM Modi says reforms with conviction & incentives improved lives of poor and middle class
- Over 29 crore 40 lakh Covid vaccines doses administered in country so far
- More than 20 countries have shown interest in COWIN platform for help in vaccination campaign: Harsh Vardhan
- Farookh Abdullah and Mahbooba Mufti to attend tomorrow's all party meeting called by PM Modi
- EAM S Jaishankar calls for permanent & comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan at UN Security Council
- Country receives 31 percent excess rainfall during this monsoon says IMD
- India and Fiji sign MoU for cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors field
- UNESCO says, Great Barrier Reef should be put on list of World Heritage Sites
Q.) WHO on Saturday officially announced the end of Guinea’s second _______ outbreak which was declared in February.
- Enteric Fever
- Small Pox
Q.)The Lakshadweep Administration has recently mooted a proposal to shift its legal jurisdiction from the Kerala High Court to which State?
- HC of Andhra Pradesh
- HC of Telangana
- HC of Karnataka
- HC of Gujarat