Murli Manohar Joshi on Flipkart-Walmart deal: ‘We know Walmart’s history, government should not have let deal happen’

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New Delhi | Updated: June 4, 2018 9:36:22 AM

Murli Manohar Joshi has said that the government shoul not have allowed the much-talked about Flipkart-Walmart deal to happen and voiced concerns over inaction on the part of the government.

Murli Manohar Joshi, Flipkart-Walmart deal, Flipkart, Walmart, RSS, Swadeshi jagaran Manch, RSS, Rashtriya Swayamsevak SanghMurli Manohar Joshi on Flipkart-Walmart deal: ‘We know Walmart’s history, government should not have let deal happen’

Veteran BJP leader and former Union minister Murli Manohar Joshi has said that the government should not have allowed the much-talked about Flipkart-Walmart deal to happen and voiced concerns over inaction on the part of the government. “The government should not have let the deal happen,” he said and called the entry of foreign companies in the Indian market a ‘threat to domestic players’.

The Kanpur MP was present at an event organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s economic wing Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) on Saturday to register their protest against the Rs 1 lakh crore deal. Addressing the gathering, Joshi said that allowing big fish in the market will “hurt our youths and farmers” and leave Indians vulnerable to manipulation by big companies through data transfer.

“We all know the bad history of Walmart… in terms of cheating people. They are looking for data that can be very easily misused,” the former Union minister added.

Joshi further termed the argument that Walmart will directly procure items from farmers as laughable. “They (Walmart) will ask farmers to plough their field according to their demand. They will examine the farm produces according to their set parameter and reject half of the items, forcing producers to sell items at cheap rate.”

The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch has threatened to launch a stir if the Centre decides to give the regulatory approval to the much-talked Flipkart-Walmart deal. SJM national co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan on Saturday claimed that the government was not kept in the loop on the communication regarding the Rs 1 lakh crore deal and claimed that it was the SJM that had brought the deal to the notice of the government.

Mahajan said that he had called Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu to discuss the deal when it was made public through media, adding that he was surprised to listen from the Minister that he was “unaware about the deal”. “Suresh Prabhu said that no one (in the government) was informed about the deal. He (Prabhu) said that he came to know about the deal through newspapers,” Mahajan said on Sunday.

“There was a consensus in SJM and BJP that FDI in multi-brand retail will not only kill entrepreneurship, and is anti-farmers …it will also kill job creation opportunities in the market,” he said reminding the government of the reasons behind its stand on denying FDI in multi-brand retail. He said that the ‘illegal and unholy’ deal is against national interest.

Mahajan also questioned the ‘cash burning model’ of e-commerce platforms including Flipkart. He said it is hurting small players in the market, adding that the deal, if approved, will also allow Walmart to take over the data of millions of Indians.

Majahan, who teaches Economics at the Delhi University, also accused the government of not taking their complaints into account, adding that the US retail giant was circumventing rules for a ‘back-door entry’. “Our letters were not given due consideration. The government took no action… our letters addressed to the RBI, ED remained pending.” He said that the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch wants the government to immediately initiate an enquiry into the dubious deal between Flipkart and Walmart which has been “written outside India but for all the tangible and intangible assets placed in India”.

He said that the outfit has already made a strong representation with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against the deal. Besides, he said that the government should instruct the tax authorities to enquire the modus operandi used by the promoters of Flipkart to take away ownership of companies and their brands outside India, various valuations at which ownership changes happened over the period and taxes involved into that.

“We are not against e-commerce or technology, but platforms that are engaged in the cash burning model can’t be allowed to operate. This hurts our people and farmers. They are trying to capture the Indian market to finish off our domestic businesses, farmers, etc.”

“It is a data deal between Flipkart and Walmart,” he said, adding that all websites that are following the cash burning model must be shut, be it Indian or foreigner.

Last month, Walmart had announced that it will acquire 77% stake in Singapore-based Flipkart for about Rs 1.05 lakh crore. Flipkart was founded in 2007 but in 2011 it was domiciled to Singapore to woo foreign investors. At present, Walmart operates 21 stores in India.

Meanwhile, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said that the deal will also have an adverse impact on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Make In India’ initiative. He vowed that the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch and other like-minded outfits will continue to fight for the cause of small traders and farmers and even threatened to move the Supreme Court.

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