The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Saturday urged the government to revisit the foreign direct investment norms for e-commerce players and start investigation immediately against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart “without any delay”.
The Karnataka High Court on Friday dismissed the plea by e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart on the investigation ordered by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against them for alleged violations of provisions of competition laws. The High Court order said that “it is expected that an order directing investigation be supported by ‘some reasoning’, which the Commission has fulfilled. “Therefore, it would be unwise to prejudge the issues raised by the petitioners in these writ petitions at this stage and scuttle the investigation,” the HC added.
In a letter addressed to Union minister Piyush Goyal, the domestic traders’ body wrote, “In the light of the above said judgement and to meet the ends of justice, we request your goodself to direct the CCI immediately begin investigation without any further delay…”
On January 13, 2020, fair trade regulator CCI ordered a probe against Flipkart and Amazon for alleged malpractices, including deep discounting and tie-ups with preferred sellers on their platforms
CAIT also requested the Union minister Piyush Goyal to release the “fresh Press Note replacing Press Note 2 of the FDI policy be released immediately blocking all possible escape routes and avenues to dodge the policy and law.” In India, e-commerce companies have to abide by ‘Press Note 2’ that bars marketplaces from selling their inventory. E-commerce players cannot decide the price of the products sold on its platform. They also cannot mandate sellers to sell any product exclusively on their platforms.
These e-commerce companies, “should provide a list of the top 10 sellers on their portal in the last five years which will reveal the fact that names of the same set of sellers will exist during these five years as the top sellers which are prominently related to them in one way or the other thereby consolidating the sales into few hands only. These foreign e-commerce entities are habituated to make tall claims about helping and assisting small and medium retailers while ruthlessly destroying the very fabric of our traditional Kirana and small merchants,” CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said.
CAIT secretary general said the traders’ body will observe the week from June 14-21, 2021 as ‘E-commerce Purification Week’.”We have great regrets that these e-commerce companies have blatantly left no stone unturned in passing deaf ears to such policy statements and have continuously indulged in unethical and illegal activities by flouting the mandatory provisions of the FDI policy in both letter and spirit,” CAIT said in a statement.