Small retailers have criticised the draft e-commerce policy as they now fear domination by their bigger domestic rivals such as Reliance and Future Group. The smaller players fear the local giants will be indulging in exclusive deals and predatory pricing tactics as used by Amazon and Flipkart in the marketplace model.
However, a forum representing domestic retailers said the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail had been addressed by the policy.
“The policy seems to be silent on domestic e-commerce players, which is undesirable. They should also be brought under the policy,” Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general of the Confederation of All India Traders said.
“We fear that it will culminate into an uneven level playing field and will give liberty to domestic e-commerce players to adopt malpractices as were being done by global e-commerce players. It will damage the basic intent of the government to bring every stakeholder on a par.”
The draft policy released on Saturday said: “An e-commerce platform, in which foreign investment has been made, therefore, cannot exercise ownership or control over the inventory sold on its platform… foreign investment is not seen as a threat by small offline retailers of multi-branded products.”
Online marketplaces should not adopt business models or strategies which are discriminatory and which favour one or few sellers/traders operating on their platforms over others, the draft clarifies. It enlists certain steps, which has to be followed by all e-commerce websites and applications.
The policy also calls for all e-commerce websites and applications available for download in India to have a registered business entity in India as the importer on record or the entity through which all sales in India are transacted.
However, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India, a body representing domestic retailers, said: “The whole issue was FDI being used for doing multi-brand retail, even if it is online business and putting others into a mess cannot equate global players with domestic retailers.” ―Telegraph India