The government will hold a stakeholder meeting on Thursday on foreign direct investment in e-commerce retailing.
India allows 100% FDI in B2B e-commerce activities (wholesale trade), but foreign investment is not allowed in B2C e-commerce companies.
Japan’s Uniqlo, global e-commerce firms Amazon and eBay as well as countries such as Japan have been pushing for the easing of foreign investment restrictions in the sector.
The meeting, to be chaired by commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will also see participation from industry bodies CII, Ficci and Nasscom besides e-commerce firms, including Flipkart and Snapdeal. Sitharaman had recently said in the Rajya Sabha that the government, at present, was not considering reviewing the FDI policy in the e-commerce sector.
She had said at the Indian Express Group’s Idea Exchange programme that: “FDI is banned in multi-brand retail and the same applies to e-commerce also.”
Authorities suspect that many e-commerce firms have structured their business in such a way that foreign capital coming to their wholesale business indirectly supports the retail e-commerce business. There were also some reports of leading e-commerce companies being probed by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged violations of foreign exchange regulations.