Over 7 crore micro, small and medium-sized traders in India, which are represented by Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), in a letter to Infosys Chairman Narayana Murthy on Thursday conveyed their ‘feelings’ that they “deeply regret” to see him as a speaker at Amazon’s event for small and medium businesses (SMBs) in Delhi. Amazon organised a two-day event called Smbhav on Wednesday and Thursday to encourage SMBs towards selling online on its marketplace to grow their businesses and reach out to potential customers across India. Narayana Murthy had delivered his keynote address on what small businesses should do to be successful.
CAIT’s Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal in the letter told Murthy that his presence has “greatly shocked the traders of the country” as Amazon is a “world-known habitual offender and is facing investigations in the US and Europe and have also been charged fines.” Khandelwal added that this has gone against the interest of the traders’ who feel “greatly resented and agitated.” Murthy was also informed about the recent CCI probe order issued against Amazon and Flipkart to investigate their business models for allegedly flouting the FDI norms by indulging in predatory pricing, deep discounting, preference to select sellers. He had cut short his 20-minute talk to around 5 minutes as the event ran late. “I was supposed to talk for 20 minutes but I will finish it in 5 minutes. Because I’m not used to delays,” Murthy said at the event before beginning his address.
“A democratizing force, it empowers sellers, regardless of size or background, and creates a level playing field. Increased adoption of a marketplaces’ efficient, transparent and accessible model will propel true growth and prosperity for India’s seller community, the retail sector and the nation. At Flipkart, we are proud to be creating enormous value for lakhs of sellers, Artisians and MSMEs. Helping them leverage innovation and technology and creating lakhs of new jobs in the country,” Rajneesh Kumar, SVP and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group told Financial Express Online last week. An Amazon spokesperson told FE Online the company welcomes the initiative by CCI to conduct a study to better understand the functioning of e-commerce in India even as they are reviewing the contents of the study.
Khandelwal said Amazon’s event was based on a false narrative of helping small enterprises and to merely refine and reform its maligned image due to its defective business model. Piyush Goyal on Thursday once again cautioned Amazon of doing any unfair business and added that Amazon is not doing a great favour to India by committing an investment of a billion-dollar. Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos had on Wednesday announced $1 billion investment in digitising Indian SMEs and said the company would help export $10 billion of Make in India products by 2025.