Nagpur: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has welcomed the statement of Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about formation of a Grievance Cell in Ministry of Commerce to deal with complaints against e-commerce portals. This move will hopefully bring some relief to offline retail-said CAIT. However, the CAIT has demanded proper investigation of its complaint by a competent authority.
CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal while appreciating the statement of Sitharaman do not agree with the argument that no probe is required by Enforcement Directorate into complaints made against e- portals.
It is noteworthy to mention that CAIT had filed a complaint with DIPP of Commerce Ministry on August 10, 2016 alleging gross violation of FDI policy by e-commerce portals by announcing sales on their respective portals through big media campaign. “The complaint made by CAIT is an open and shut case which clearly outlines the violations made by the e-commerce portals. If not Enforcement Directorate, then Government should investigate the matter through any other agency or on its own. It needs to be established that either the compliant is wrong or substance made under the complaint is correct and suitable action may be taken against offenders. Letting them free in-spite of specific complaint amounts to violation of principle of natural justice” said both the leaders.
Both Bhartia & Khandelwal said that though e-portal companies were invited by the Government to deliberate on the issues arising out of the complaint but so far no opportunity is given to us to place our view point.
Further, the contention of the e-portals is that discounts are offered by sellers and not by them and therefore they have not violated the FDI policy, cannot be accepted since in their advertisements, no specific name was mentioned of any seller at all. Further, even if sellers are giving discounts, even then as per the policy, the e commerce portals have to remain as a technology provider and under no circumstances, they can have ownership of the inventory and they will cannot influence the sale prices of goods directly or indirectly and they are under obligation not to create an uneven level playing field.
But on the contrary to it, all actions of the e commerce portals leading to the complaint flout the settled FDI policy. Under such circumstances, giving them a clean chit, is a mockery of the Government policy and will encourage the e commerce players to go for further violations.
The CAIT has asked Commerce Minister to look in to all aspects of the complaint and take effective remedial measures and before arriving at any conclusion, due opportunity should be given to us to put forth our view point.
For more details, please contact CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal at +91-9891015165, 9310199771.