The issue of predatory pricing by the two major ecommerce companies Amazon and Flipkart is still keeping the government engaged with the next round of meeting the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is likely to hold will be with the representatives from the two firms. The meeting may be used by the DPIIT officials to talk to Amazon and Flipkart over the complaints received from different segments of the offline retail trade.
Teams from the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), All India Mobile Retailers Association and All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation have already held talks with the DPIIT and have accused the ecommerce companies of flouting the FDI norms. They hold that these companies are in one way or the other involved in the actual buying and selling of products in their platforms through certain ‘favourite’ sellers. Their FDI licence only gives them the permission to set up a neutral platform for sellers and buyers to meet online and engage in selling and buying. Their task is only to provide the technology and support.
The accusations include “predatory pricing, deep discounting, loss funding and exclusivity of various products”.
The delegations had been assured by the Minister for Commerce Piyush Goyal under whose Ministry the DPIIT operates that the government will look into the grievances of the trade and this meeting with the executives from the ecommerce firms may be a step in that direction. It will give the opportunity to the government to listen to the other side before taking any action. The Ministry had already made it clear that it won’t be taking any hasty action.
The traders want the government to appoint an ecommerce ombudsman and pending the investigations, they want the sites to be shut down.