Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Goyal asks companies to submit concerns on draft e-commerce policy in 10 days

Goyal asks companies to submit concerns on draft e-commerce policy in 10 daysNEW DELHI: Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has asked e-retail companies to submit their concerns pertaining to the draft e-commerce policy of the government within 10 days.

The issue was discussed during a meeting between the minister and representativesof e-commerce and technology industry here Monday.

In a statement Tuesday, the ministry said that e-commerce industry representatives also flagged their concerns about the draft policy which they felt was not adequately consultative.

"The Commerce Minister assured the e-commerce industry representatives that each and every concern of the industry will be addressed and for that the minister requested representatives to send their concerns in writing to the DPIIT within 10 days," it said.

Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is an arm of the ministry which deals with the issue.

All the companies also raised concerns related to the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) data storage requirements and processing related guidelines.

On this, Deputy Governor of RBI B P Kanungo, assured the industry to look into the issues.

Further, Secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Ajay Prakash Sawhney assured e-commerce companies that the Data Protection Bill will reflect all the consultations that had taken place with the industry during the formulation of the bill.

"The principles of data protection and privacy were discussed at length in the meeting and industry representatives requested the minister to ensure that the bill will have more clarity around classification of data and the manner of cross border flow of data. The minister assured that MeitY will address this concern too," it said.

Goyal stated that MeitY and National Association of Software and ServicesCompanies (NASSCOM) may deal with the concerns of companies that build products in India and store their data in the country.

The meeting holds significance as the ministry is in the process of finalising a national e-commerce policy. Multi-national firms have raised concerns over certain provisions of the draft policy.

The draft national e-commerce policy has proposed setting up a legal and technological framework for restrictions on cross-border data flow and also laid out conditions for businesses regarding collection or processing of sensitive data locally and storing it abroad.

The meeting was attended by government officials from the ministry, RBI, Ministry of External Affairs, besides reprensentatives of ecommerce and IT companies.

Flipkart rolls out flexible benefits for diverse workforce

Flipkart rolls out flexible benefits for diverse workforceBENGALURU: E-commerce marketplace Flipkart has introduced its new inclusive benefits program - FlexBen 2019, for its employees, said a company statement issued on Tuesday. 

The initiative is a result of an engagement survey conducted with the employees, to understand their preferences, and aims to provide them the freedom to choose benefits based on their individual needs, including both insurance and non-insurance options. A company survey revealed that around 50% of Flipkart employees choose benefits and policies as an important attraction and retention driver.

The FlexBen program, in its first year, will introduce important enhancements to the health and well-being programs offered by the company, by incorporating benefits that address the dynamic needs of the diverse workforce. The program is designed in a manner that addresses recent employee requests where 20% employees asked for more flexibility in benefits and 10% asked for wellness centres and gym benefits.

“Recognising the fact that today's workforce is diverse and can have varied personal and professional needs, we have introduced the FlexBen program, which is specifically crafted based on feedback from our employees. The program will offer greater flexibility and choice in selecting and funding employee benefits, allowing them to customise their benefits package based on their individual needs,” said Smriti Krishna Singh, CHRO at Flipkart.

The FlexBen program is universal and inclusive as it provides benefits coverage equally to all employees. 

“For example, through this plan we offer coverage for LGBT couples, choice of additional childcare or parent care coverage and more options for single employees. We are proud to be not only the first e-commerce organisation in the country to lead this initiative but also to be one of the first few companies in India to do this,” Singh added.

MobiKwik partners with DT One for global mobile recharge services

MobiKwik partners with DT One for global mobile recharge servicesNEW DELHI: Fintech platform MobiKwik on Tuesday announced a partnership with DT One, a global B2B network for mobile recharge, rewards and airtime credit services. As per this agreement with DT One, MobiKwik will offer mobile recharge in 150+ countries across more than 550 mobile operators, according to a release. The announcement signals MobiKwik’s foray into international markets.

The “International Recharge” service on MobiKwik app is currently live across 150+ countries in the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, United States, Latin America and Caribbean enabling users to seamlessly recharge a mobile number across DT One’s global network of over 550 operators. For DT One, this is the first time that mobile recharge will be originated out of India via their network, rather than to India, the release added.

Commenting on the partnership, Upasana Taku, Co-founder, MobiKwik, said “We are constantly looking at adding value to our existing offerings for our customers even if it is as simple as mobile recharge back home for people coming to India for work or for studies. This new feature will enable millions - immigrants in India from across the globe, students studying abroad and even frequent travellers the power of connectivity at their fingertips.”

“Our goal is to make digital communications more available and accessible to everyone, helping to keep more people better connected so they are able to do the things that matter to them the most, online,” said Krishnadeep Baruah, DT One EVP of APAC.

India is one of the world’s top destinations for international migrants. According to data from Pew Research Center for 2015, nearly 5.2 million immigrants live in India, making it the 12th-largest immigrant population in the world. The overwhelming majority of India’s immigrants are from neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh (3.2 million), Nepal (540,000) and Sri Lanka (160,000). More and more foreigners are making India their home for education, work and business opportunities. These immigrants, based in India will now be able to recharge the mobile phone for their family, friends and loved ones directly in real-time via MobiKwik app.

An estimated 17 million Indians were living abroad in 2017, making India the largest source country for international migrants globally, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of data from the United Nations Department of Economic Affairs.

As per Ministry of External Affairs data, 752,725 Indian students went to study abroad in 90 countries including the US, Australia, Canada, UK, UAE in 2018. This number has been growing steadily over the years at 15-20%. The families of these students will find it easy to recharge their mobile phones for the duration of their stay abroad.

This partnership will also deliver convenience to travellers from India going abroad for business or pleasure. Especially for frequent travellers for business who may have a long term pre-paid SIM of the country they frequently visit, they would be able to recharge it from the comfort of their home via their MobiKwik wallet prior to travel and that too in Indian currency. The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) predicts that India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020. Operators say that at present around 25 million tourists from India travel abroad.

Founded in 2009 by Bipin Preet Singh and Upasana Taku, MobiKwik has raised four rounds of funding from investors including Sequoia Capital, American Express, and Net1 of close to $120 million.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Alibaba reshuffles management; CFO Wu to oversee strategic investment unit

Alibaba reshuffles management; CFO Wu to oversee strategic investment unitShanghai- China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Tuesday said its chief financial officer, Maggie Wu, will oversee the firm's strategic acquisitions and investments unit, as part of a business and management reshuffle at the e-commerce giant.

Wu will take over from Executive Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai, who will support Wu in her new role, Alibaba said in a statement on its official WeChat account. It did not elaborate further on Tsai's move.

Its supermarket division, Freshippo, will become a standalone business, and enterprise software unit DingTalk will be merged into the firm's cloud unit, Alibaba said, adding that the changes are effective from Tuesday.

"To guarantee innovation, invest in our future, Alibaba is undertaking an organisational upgrade," the company said in the statement, signed by Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang.

The announcement marks the first significant reshuffle since the company's co-founder Jack Ma last year announced he would step down and allow Zhang to replace him as chairman.

Alibaba has been investing in new business lines such as cloud computing as a boom in its core e-commerce has peaked and its top-line growth is slowing.

Reuters reported last month that the firm is considering raising as much as $20 billion through a listing in Hong Kong to boost its investment war chest.

Pune police alert against increasing frauds on popular e-commerce marketplace

 Police have within a year registered a sharp rise in the number of frauds on an e-commerce website meant for buyers and sellers of used goods. 

The number of frauds has gone up from 225 in 2018 to 378 in the first five months of this year, prompting the city police to alert people while striking deals on the platform.

Pune police alert against increasing frauds on popular e-commerce marketplace
People generally put up used motorcycles, cars, electronic goods and other articles for sale on the website. “We have been focusing much on making people aware about the issue. Yet, the number of complaints of cheating pertaining to the e-commerce website is going up,” senior police inspector (cybercrime) Radhika Phadke said.

“The fraudsters are targeting both buyers and sellers on the platform,” she told TOI. 

Explaining the fraudsters’ functioning, Phadke said, “Unidentified persons from small towns, mostly in Rajasthan, are uploading photographs of various items on the website for sale. They also mention their phone numbers.” 

The officer said, “Once the customers contact them, they tell the prospective buyers to pay some money in advance. Sometimes, they tell the customers to pay the entire amounts for the items. Their preferred mode of payment is money transfer through various e-wallet applications. Once they receive the money, the tricksters do not respond to the buyers’ phone calls or text messages.” 

The sellers, too, fall prey to the cybercrooks’ ploy. “The suspects pose as buyers and mostly use service of a particular cellphone-based unified payments interface (UPI). They send ‘pay requests’, with the amounts mentioned, on the application. Once the buyers click the ‘pay request’ button, the funds get transferred to the suspects’ accounts,” she said. 

Phadke said the cybercrime cell has successfully investigated many cases. “Most of those arrested are from Alwar, Deeg, Bharatpur, Rupbas Naka and adjoining areas. Many suspects are even minors.”