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Dept of Consumer Affairs Holds Stakeholder Consultation on Safety Pledge for e-Commerce Platforms

The consensus during Stakeholder Consultation emphasized the critical importance of ensuring the sale of safe goods to consumers through e-commerce channels.

Shivam Dwivedi
Dept of Consumer Affairs Holds Stakeholder Consultation on Safety Pledge for e-Commerce Platforms (Photo Source: @jagograhakjago/twitter)
Dept of Consumer Affairs Holds Stakeholder Consultation on Safety Pledge for e-Commerce Platforms (Photo Source: @jagograhakjago/twitter)

The Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a stakeholder consultation today to discuss the formulation of a 'Safety Pledge' for e-commerce platforms. This initiative aims to ensure the sale of goods that meet safety standards and obligate platforms to implement measures preventing the sale of unsafe products.

Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs chaired the meeting. It saw participation from industry associations, major e-commerce platforms, voluntary consumer associations, and legal experts. The Department commenced the session with a comprehensive presentation, emphasizing the significance of consumer safety and highlighting relevant provisions within the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 designed to curb the sale of hazardous goods.

Drawing inspiration from international practices, examples from jurisdictions such as the European Union (EU), Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Canada were presented. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, enshrines the sale of safe goods as a fundamental principle under Section 2(9), recognizing consumers' right to protection against potentially harmful products.

The Department of Consumer Affairs is actively collaborating with the European Commission to adopt global best practices in detecting and preventing the sale of unsafe goods on online platforms. The proposed Safety Pledge is a voluntary commitment from online platforms to prioritize the safety of goods sold to consumers.

It aims to establish higher standards across all Indian online marketplaces, providing a public demonstration of the platforms' commitment to consumer product safety. Key principles of the Safety Pledge include the detection and prevention of the sale of unsafe products, cooperation with statutory authorities responsible for product safety, raising awareness among third-party sellers regarding consumer product safety, and empowering consumers on product safety issues.

To facilitate the drafting of the Safety Pledge, the Department has formed a committee comprising members from major e-commerce platforms, voluntary consumer associations, industry bodies, and National Law Universities. The committee is expected to submit its report within two weeks.

Representatives from industry associations such as CII, ASSOCHAM, FICCI, IAMAI, NASSCOM, and prominent e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and Meesho, along with voluntary consumer associations such as Mumbai Grahak Panchayat and Consumer Voice, and legal experts from National Law Universities, expressed unanimous appreciation for the introduction of the Safety Pledge.

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