Rajnath Singh cautions Amazon, Flipkart against alleged FDI violations; assures traders fair competition

By: |
January 7, 2020 4:42 PM

Amazon and Flipkart have repeatedly claimed full compliance with the laws governing e-commerce in India and that they are working towards the growth of small businesses in India along with employment generation.

Rajnath Singh said the government’s priority is to secure the benefits of Indian traders.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has assured protection to the interests of India’s trader community that have been hurt by e-commerce platforms Amazon and Flipkart through alleged FDI policy violation by indulging in predatory pricing, deep discounting etc. Singh said he discussed the concerns of traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) with the Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and that the government’s priority is to secure the benefits of Indian traders. “I discussed them (challenges) with the Commerce Minister. I want to assure that whether it is the problem related to FDI, Flipkart and Amazon, or e-commerce, our government will not let your benefits get hurt. This is our priority,” Singh said on Monday addressing the CAIT’s National Traders Convention.

Amazon and Flipkart, nonetheless, have continued to claim complete compliance with the laws governing e-commerce in India and that they are working towards the growth of small businesses in India along with employment generation. “We are deeply committed to doing business the right way in India and appreciate the consultative approach that the Commerce Ministry & DPIIT  have taken and we continue to be willing to work with the government & all stakeholders to promote a regulatory environment that creates balanced growth that is good for India,” Rajneesh Kumar, chief corporate affairs officer, Flipkart Group had told Financial Express Online earlier. “We offered our commitment to help onboard CAIT traders to be part of the digital economy and reach customers across India and worldwide,” an Amazon spokesperson had told Financial Express Online.

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According to CAIT in a separate statement, the minister referring to Amazon and Flipkart said that whoever big maybe will not be allowed under any circumstances to violate the FDI policy and law. “Our government and PM Modi understands the significance of India’s traders. I know that if you are a trader then challenges are bound to come up time after time,” said Singh adding that the Commerce minister had told him that Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into it even as the minister has requested CCI to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Singh added, according to CAIT, that government is also looking at complaints of GST and Income Tax avoidance by these companies and if found guilty, the law will take its own course.

CAIT’s two-month national campaign against Amazon and Flipkart is currently underway and would be ending January 10. The confederation had also alleged last month that there is an ‘unholy’ cartel or nexus of Amazon and Flipkart along with brands for predatory pricing and deep discounting. The body in a letter to the Commerce minister Piyush Goyal had requested him to ask ‘economic terrorists’ (referring to the e-commerce companies) to either follow the FDI policy in letter and spirit or shut their businesses in India.

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