‘Domestic firms should also comply e-com rules’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Feb 2019 09:18:57


Business Bureau,

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which is spearheading the agitation against global e-commerce players for quite long, has demanded that the restrictions stipulated in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy for e-commerce should invariably be imposed on domestic players as well.  The national level body of traders said that it is essential to meet create level playing field for all and to defy any chance of extortion of traders and consumers.

CAIT highlighted that after implementation of FDI policy in e-commerce, there is hue and cry in the sector and portals like Amazon and Walmart are forced to withdraw products from their platforms which shows that earlier they were indulging in unethical business practices against the policy.
Now it is apprehended that these companies would find ways and means to again circumvent the policy to their advantage and continue their sinister designs to rule the e-commerce market.

Besides, amid reports of Mukesh Ambani shortly launching e-commerce portal, the domestic e-commerce players stands in an advantageous position. “Since the FDI restrictions are not applicable on them, the dirty practices including predatory pricing, deep discounting, exclusivity and loss funding, would be adopted by these domestic players. It would leave the intention and restrictions of the policy meaningless. And, once again the traders both offline and online will be the worst sufferers,” said the CAIT.

CAIT said that after implementation of policy from February 1, the e-commerce market has become an open play ground for domestic e-com players. With Mukesh Ambani declaring to enter the e-commerce market, there is already much hustle bustle in the sector. “We have seen how telecom sector was shattered by Ambani in no time creating a monopoly. Same thing might happened in e-commerce sector as well and there is a long line of biggies to follow Ambani in establishing their e-commerce portals to mint the money particularly when there is no policy,” CAIT said adding that the Indian retail trade accounts for an annual turnover of more than Rs 42 lakh crore and biggies would certainly want to capture major stake via e-commerce.

Looking at the scenario, CAIT has demanded the Government that in order to preserve sanctity of the policy and to implement the same in its true letter and spirit without any discrimination, the rules enforced on FDI funded e-commerce portals should be imposed on domestic e-com players immediately without giving them any time for manipulations. The principle of natural justice demands the same. Since retail trade has been now under direct charge of Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade, the Commerce Ministry is competent to make policy without  any excuse.

The CAIT said that it will take up this issue in its right earnest on top priority and will soon meet Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal and CEO of Niti Aayog Amitabh Kant beside meeting other concerned officials. “If needed we are geared up to launch a national campaign if our demand is not addressed,” said CAIT.