Traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has launched a series of protests against ecommerce platforms Amazon and Flipkart in full flow. On November 20, the traders’ body called for another protest in over 700 cities across India, observing “National Protest Day”. The protests were attended by lakhs of traders demanding an immediate ban on the ecommerce platforms.
Protesters in Delhi’s Sadar Bazar waved banners with “Go Back” written on them and raised slogans against Amazon and Flipkart. CAIT has been resentful against the two ecommerce portals for engaging in deep discounting and predatory practices, which, in turn, affected the business of the small brick-and-mortar stores.
Moreover, the traders have also accused ecommerce platforms of not complying with the newly updated foreign direct investment (FDI) policies, which have been put in place to prevent ecommerce platforms from affecting the business of small traders.
CAIT, in a press release, claimed that the protest was attended by prominent leaders of the retail ecosystem — transport, small Industry, hawkers, consumers, and other sections — to support the nationwide agitation by CAIT.
BC Bhartia of National President of CAIT and its secretary-general Praveen Khandelwal said that the traders do not have any objections against Amazon and Flipkart running their business in India, as long as they follow the GDI policy and other tax laws, ensuring equal competition between ecommerce platforms and offline traders.
The traders body also highlighted that Amazon and Flipkart have made no attempts on changing their policies, even after the intervention of the commerce minister Piyush Goyal. However last month, Goyal had confirmed that both Amazon and Flipkart have been cooperating with the government over the scrutiny.
The Traders Body CAIT also raised the following demands:
- The government should investigate the business model, accounts and inflow of foreign investment and its disbursal by the companies
- Amazon and Flipkart’s sustainability model, even after incurring losses
- Finalising of the ecommerce policy the government has been working on
- Removing cash on delivery option for ecommerce platforms, limiting the payment model to only digital transactions
- Ministry of Finance, GST Authority and Income Tax Department should also conduct an inquiry against Amazon and Flipkart over deep discounting
CAIT highlighted that by deep discounting the platforms reduce the value of products significantly lower than the actual market value of the goods, reducing the goods and services tax (GST) as well. This reduced GST causes “crore of rupees” revenue loss to the Central and State Governments.