The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a communication sent today to Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Commerce Minister, has strongly demanded. that basic fundamentals of the e commerce policy draft should not be diluted under any circumstances although several vested interest people are lobbying hard to make the policy according to their whims and wills which will not be accepted by the trading community-said the CAIT.
CAIT National President Mr. B.C.Bhartia & Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal said that the discounts funded and financed by these e-commerce platform is the biggest weapons used by said so called platforms to gain market shares.This is nothing but classic predatory pricing and as such the policy must contain restrictions on offering discounts and freebees.
They further said that these platforms are blatantly violating the conditions imposed by Press Note 3 under FEMA and RBI , ED and other enforcement agencies are looking other way probably under some sort of influence which is evident from the fact that in past years many complaints have been made directly and also forwarded by Commerce Ministry but so far no investigation has been conducted and the issue is being dealt in a casual manner.
Though the present Competition Law has suitable provisions for dealing with Predatory Pricing however it appears that Commission is not acting in its right spirit and no opportunity of hearing has been given to objections filed by us and orders have been passed by the Commission giving green signal to Walmart-Flipkart deal.
The CAIT has suggested that holding inventory clause in the policy proposal should be withdrawn. The policy has provision for inventory holding in certain cases which is nothing but backdoor entry of FDI in Retail It has also suggested that e-commerce Companies should be listed with Stock Exchange as it will stop their ability to keep on making sustained losses by adopting indiscriminate discounting which is hurting the small traders.
The CAIT reminded that similar listing provisions was done in 1980s in respect of Pharma and FMCG cos.Those policies along with suitable patent laws have created internationally Pharma Cos of Indian origins like Sun Pharma.Cipla, Dr Reddys and others.
Both Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal said that there is certainly a dire need of a Regulator to regulate & monitor the e commerce platform which has already been greatly vitiated by various e-commerce platforms. We suggest that the said Regulator may be armed with powers to take penal action against the platforms which violate the policy, Rules or Regulations. It is also suggested that an effective Grievance Forum should also be constituted to hear the grievances of the consumers and a Help Line should also be started for easy access to consumers in case of any grievances against any e-commerce platform.