The Commerce Ministry has recently completed its task of formulating a set of Standard Operating Procedures for the e-commerce industry.
Yet the muted response to the SOPs reflect the significantly deeper concerns surrounding the industry, that have come to light recently in the form of troubling revelations about some of its biggest players, most notably Evaly, that have come straight from investigations carried out by an authority as important as Bangladesh Bank.
Given the seriousness of some of these concerns and allegations, a set of guidelines rooted in global best practices, that would essentially allow the rapidly growing industry to regulate itself.
Firms would be responsible for implementing the SOPs within their own organisations, while a failure to do so would not carry the threat of incurring a legal penalty. None of the SOPs in that sense would be legally binding.
Although this kind of light-touch approach can be entertained in a situation where the assumption is that one is dealing with good faith-actors, the recent revelations regarding Evaly, that include possible money laundering, have effectively blown the credibility of such a working assumption out of the water.
It suggests the more prudent route forward for harnessing the sector's potential may well be regulatory oversight by a competent authority.