In continuation of its full-fledged fight against alleged violation of FDI policy by the e-commerce firms including Amazon and Flipkart, traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has announced the launch of two-month-long nationwide protest appealing immediate action against them.
The national protest, to be kicked off from November 13 and continue till January 10 2020, will see active participation of 40,000 trade associations including All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA), Al India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF) and All India Association of Electronics Merchants Association (AIAEMA) among others.
“We stand committed to wage a strong fight against Amazon, Flipkart and other e-commerce companies which are bent upon in destroying the country’s retail business,” said CAIT on behalf of trade leaders unanimous resolution taken today in New Delhi.
The trader associations also plan to submit an exhaustive memorandum to all MPs of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to raise the issue in Parliament.
In a unanimous resolution, the traders’ body further urged the government to release the draft of national e-comm policy immediately and announce e-comm ombudsman and investigation into Amazon and Flipkart business models by independent authorities.
It demanded of a uniform law for both e-comm firms and the traders.
The development comes after CAIT repeated complaints about an alleged violation on Press Note 2 of FDI policy by Flipkart and Amazon did not yield any result.
In the past couple of months, CAIT had reached out to government ministers including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and had written a letter to the PM Narendra Modi over the issue.
Last month, it also met the Competition Commission of India (CCI) chairman AK Gupta, but it only managed to get a verbal assurance of actions against flouting e-comm firms from Goyal and the CCI.
In its complaints, CAIT had raised questions over Flipkart and Amazon business models, discounting practices and their continuance of operation despite incurring losses in crore.
It also alleged Amazon and Flipkart of selling goods at much below the market value, paying only about one-fourth of GST after selling goods at a 70% discount rate, and denying the govt its due legitimate GST revenue.
Interestingly, Flipkart’s Singapore filings had raised a question over being a marketplace as the company bought goods, more like a retailer, worth Rs 39,514 crore. The figure is close to what top five retailers collectively spent on buying goods in FY19.
Why does it need to increase its purchases by 44% in a fiscal if Press Note 2 & 3 are being followed in letter and spirit? It remains a question.
However, both the marketplaces in response to DPIIT, have denied playing any role in either pricing or discounting and claimed to be in compliant FDI norms. They attributed discounts offered on their platforms to brands and sellers.