In a bid to take on Amazon, Walmart-owned Flipkart and other foreign-funded e-commerce companies’ alleged ‘unethical business practices’, the brick and mortar union Confederation of All Indian Traders launched an ‘e-commerce purification week.
During this ‘purification’ campaign, CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal will hand over a memorandum to the District Collectors of all states in the Country.
Trade delegations will also meet the chief ministers and finance ministers of various States to urge them to set up a monitoring mechanism for e-commerce trade in the State. The body wants States to ensure strict implementation of FDI in the e-commerce policy of the government.
Simultaneously, the trade associations will send an e-mail to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging them for an immediate direction to the CCI for initiating an investigation of the business module of Amazon and Flipkart, issuance of a fresh Press Note removing the flaws of Press Note 2.
On June 12, Khandelwal said that CAIT has sent a communique to Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal urging him to direct CCI to investigate Amazon and Flipkart. “We also demand a new press note of the FDI policy with revised rules,” he added.
Highlights of Press Conference held by Shri @praveendel today: n/1
We have urged Shri @PiyushGoyal to direct @CCI_India to begin investigation against Amazon & Flipkart without any delay. We also demand a new Press Note of the FDI policy with revised rules #PurifyeCommerce pic.twitter.com/z0DRQOguuD
— Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) (@CAITIndia) June 12, 2021
“Foreign MNCs like Amazon & Flipkart have a notion that laws and policies can be manipulated as per their wish. We demand the Government of India to take immediate strict action to regain the trust of Indian traders,” Khandelwal said.
CAIT’s main contention regarding e-commerce companies
- CAIT claimed that e-commerce companies have left no stone unturned in passing deaf ears to the repeated statements made by Industry minister Piyush Goyal and that they have indulged in alleged unethical and illegal activities by flouting the mandatory provisions of the FDI Policy in both letter & spirit.
- Traders across the country have been taken for a ride by these companies, said the body. Strict steps are needed to ensure that whosoever, small or big, should not even think of violating the law or the policy.
- CAIT said, “These companies are trying to establish themselves as the second edition of East India Company to fulfil their aspirations and ulterior motives to control and dominate not only the e-commerce but the entire landscape of the retail trade of India which is being run by more than 8 crore traders.”
Karnataka HC dismisses plea of Amazon, Flipkart to quash antitrust probe
On June 11, Karnataka High Court dismissed pleas by Amazon.com Inc and Flipkart to quash an antitrust investigation into the business practices of the firms, said a report by Reuters. Earlier, a court had put the investigation by the Competition Commission of India on hold last year after the two e-commerce platforms challenged it claiming that the body did not have any evidence.
Justice PS Dinesh Kumar, while dismissing the petitions by Amazon and Flipkart, and refused them any further relief, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “It would be unwise to prejudge the issues … at this stage and scuttle the investigation.”
Four anti-competitive practices, as claimed by CCI
According to CCI, the e-commerce platforms were indulging in four anti-competitive practices, a Reuters report said:
- Exclusive launches of mobile phones by the e-commerce firms
- Promoting preferred sellers on their websites
- Deep discounting practices
- Prioritising some seller listings over others
- India’s competition watchdog seeks additional information on Amazon’s antitrust case: Report
Update, June 14, 2.53 pm: The previous version of the story was attributed to other reports on the subject. The new version has been updated with CAIT’s inputs.