Instead of a big fat Indian welcome, the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos faces nationwide protests from small traders and business-owners across 300 cities when he arrives in the country on 15 January.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents over 70 million traders and shopkeepers, has accused e-commerce players like Amazon India and Walmart-owned-Flipkart of engaging in unethical business practices like predatory pricing and deep discounting, hurting local businesses.
Currently, India’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy restricts e-commerce players from predatory pricing and deep discounting.
On Tuesday, Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT Secretary General, said that Amazon and Flipkart are in violation of FDI norms in India and urged business tycoons including N R Narayana Murthy and Kishor Biyani to not attend the two-day Amazon meeting in New Delhi on 15 and 16 January.
“They are economic terrorists who are out to destabilise the livelihoods of small retailers and plunder our nation by avoiding Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Income Tax,” said Khandelwal.
India’s anti-trust body, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Monday ordered a probe to investigate the business practices of Flipkart and Amazon.
Khandelwal welcomed the move.
“Amazon and Flipkart are continuously violating FDI policy in indulging in a vicious racket of controlling and monopolising not only the e-commerce but even the retail trade as well,” he said.
Bolstered by the penetration of smartphones and cheap data packs, online marketplaces are currently worth over $33 billion in India and are expected to be worth over $65 billion by 2023.