E-commerce in recent times has been growing rapidly across the world. It is a type of business model, or segment of a larger business model, that enables a firm or individual to conduct business over an electronic network, typically the internet. Electronic commerce operates in all four of the major market segments: business to business, business to consumer, consumer to consumer and consumer to business.
In India, there are three type of e-commerce business model are in vogue (i) Inventory base model of e-commerce (ii) Marketplace base model of e-commerce (iii) Hybrid model of inventory based and market place model.
Indian Information Technology Act and E-commerce: Indian Information Technology (IT) Act gives legal recognition to electronics records and electronic signature. These are the foremost steps to facilitate paper less trading. Under this Act Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology also has Information Technology Rule, 2000 for Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information. Under section 72A of IT Amendment Act, 2008, punishment for disclosure of information in breach of a lawful contract is laid down.
FDI guidelines for e-commerce by DIPP: DIPP has issued guidelines for FDI in e-commerce. In India 100% FDI is permitted in B2B e-commerce, however No FDI was permitted in B2C e-commerce earlier. As per these new guidelines on FDI in e-commerce, 100% FDI under automatic route is permitted in marketplace model of e-commerce, while FDI is not permitted in inventory based model of e-commerce.
E-commerce has become an important part of many multilateral negotiations such as Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), WTO, BRICS etc. Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology is leading such negotiations on e-commerce from Indian side.