New Delhi, December 31, 2017
Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu has assured to formulate a national policy for retail trade to bring all verticals, including small business, big retail, e-commerce and direct selling under it, said industry body CAIT.
“On demand of CAIT (Confederation of All India Traders) to formulate a national policy for retail trade, the Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu appreciated the suggestion and agreed to formulate a policy having all verticals of retail trade i.e. Small Business, Big Retail, E-Commerce and Direct Selling under one umbrella of retail trade policy,” it said in a statement. In a meeting held between Prabhu & a CAIT delegation led by its Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal, the industry body lodged its strong complaint against e-commerce platforms for indulging in deep discounting and loss funding, thereby violating FDI Policy 2016 of the Centre, it said. CAIT said that the unfair practices being adopted by such e-commerce platforms, claiming to be a marketplace, are conducting sales to direct consumers instead of making Business-to-Business (B2B) sales.
The industry body said that CAIT has sought stern action against such e-commerce players which are bent upon in creating an uneven level playing field, much to the disadvantage of offline markets. While giving a patient hearing to the delegation, Prabhu said that no unfair practices will be allowed in any vertical of retail trade and complaints made will be looked into. He assured the delegation to convene a meeting shortly to resolve the issue, the statement said.
Earlier, while submitting a memorandum, CAIT said that large number of e-commerce platforms are deeply engaged in predatory pricing and continuously offering deep discounts by funding the losses in contravention of the FDI policy. These e-commerce companies claims to be a marketplace but mass scale public advertisements by them in the recent past is nothing but to solicit the consumers directly, it said.
If, in reality, these companies are B2B marketplace place, then where is the need of conducting big scale advertisement campaign directly addressing the consumers, which speaks for itself that they are indulging B2C activities, which is a blatant violation of FDI policy, it pointed out. These e-commerce portals are circumventing the law and engaged in Business-to-Consumers (B2C) activities, which is prohibited for e-commerce marketplace portals, it added.
[The Financial Express]