In a story more suited for Bollywood film, global retailer Walmart’s acquisition of Indian ecommerce giant Flipkart has become more dramatic with each passing day. Even after official approval and confirmation of the deal, the duo has been stuck in continuous protests, strikes and legal challenges.
The latest strike planned is by Retailers association Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) which has called for nationwide traders’ strike on September 28 to protest against acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart.
CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal reportedly said, “We are observing Bharat trade bandh on September 28. Almost 7 crore traders across the country will keep their shutters closed to protest against Walmart acquiring Flipkart.”
He said that CAIT will approach the government to annul the deal as it violates press note 3 of 2016, which clearly says that no foreign direct investment will be allowed in ecommerce.
On the nationwide stir, Walmart said it remains committed to contributing to the Indian economy by supporting smallholder farmers, manufacturers, and kirana (grocery) customers.
“Flipkart is a prominent player in India with a strong, entrepreneurial leadership team that is a good cultural fit with Walmart. We believe that the combination of Walmart’s global expertise and Flipkart will position us for long-term success and enable us to contribute to India’s economic growth,” Walmart spokesperson said.
The development comes soon after Walmart filed a caveat in multiple high courts across the country asking the court to give the caveator, in this case, Walmart, a fair hearing before passing an interim order.
This is not the first time, CAIT has challenged Walmart-Flipkart deal as it recently filed a petition before the National Company Appellate Law Tribunal (NCLAT).
“If need be, we will take the fight to Supreme Court. Business of traders is adversely effected because Walmart is using e-commerce platform passage as a way to infiltrate goods sourced globally by it to influence Indian retail market,” Khandelwal added.
He alleged that through ecommerce Walmart will dump products in Indian retail market that it sources globally and indulge in predatory pricing and other malpractices.
“Ultimately domestic manufacturing sector and the traders will lose their business because of an uneven level playing field,” Khandelwal added.
The traders association is also launching a 90-days Digital Rath Yatra beginning September 15 from Delhi. “The Digital Rath will have LEDs on its wall and audio system to address people around,” Khandelwal said.
Another traders organisation, All India Vendors Association (AIOVA) had earlier filed a complaint with the CCI alleging Flipkart’s indulgence in predatory pricing and favouring its own brands.
AIOVA had also filed a petition against Flipkart for giving “preferential treatment” to a few sellers to enable deep discounts on its platform.
CAIT has recently written to the finance minister Piyush Goyal appraising that the Walmart-Flipkart deal would be cancerous for the Indian retail industry. The impact of this stir on the deal and Indian ecommerce industry remains to be seen.
[The development was reported by PTI]