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E-Commerce policy: Mandatory to disclose of "Product Origin"

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

The Government of India has come up with new policies for E-Commerce. "We will soon mandate e-commerce players to display whether a product is made in India or not. We are actively looking to enable that. This will help cut out Chinese goods" a government official was quoted as saying by Economic Times. On June 24 meeting with DPIIT officials, a Times of India report said that Amazon and Big basket have initiated to process of collecting the ‘Country of Origin’ data of the products sold on their respective platforms. Amazon claims to have over 180 million products listed on its platform in India.

In a bid to promote "Aatmanirbhar Bharat" and curb Chinese imports, the government’s procurement portal, Government e-Marketplace (GeM), made it mandatory for sellers to mention ‘country of origin’ on products they wish to sell through the platform. Whether a product is sold through offline or online platform, it is mandatory to display 'country of origin' besides other details like maximum retail price Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said "state governments have been directed to strictly enforce the provision that requires companies and e-commerce players to display the 'country of origin' on all products".

With this new feature, now, the Country of Origin as well as the local content percentage are visible in the marketplace for all items. More importantly, the ‘Make in India’ filter has now been enabled on the portal,” a statement from the Ministry of Commerce said.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Leena Nandan said most of the companies are complying with the provision on product labelling sold in offline markets. But, e-commerce platforms are not showing it prominently on their websites. If this provision is strictly complied with, consumers can make an informed decision.

Domestic manufacturers will benefit from the move since buyers might prefer to pay a little extra for Made in India products. India is likely to demand online retailers like Amazon and Flipkart to display the country of origin against products listed on their e-commerce platforms. The move is part of India's policy measures targeting Chinese goods after recent border clashes. Display of country of origin is expected to influence consumer preference for locally-manufactured items as 'Boycott China' chorus grows louder.

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