Over five lakh traders staged protests across 300 cities in India opposing the visit of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos on Wednesday. Led by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), nearly 5000 different trade associations participated.
In Delhi, where Jeff Bezos was on Wednesday, a protest was held at Jantar Mantar where traders carried black flags and raised slogans like 'Amazon ki Jage Nahin- Ye Hindustan Hamara Hai" and ‘Go back Jeff Bezos’.
Jeff Bezos is in India for a three-day visit. He participated in an Amazon event on Wednesday and is expected to meet PM Narendra Modi.
At the Amazon event, Bezos announced that Amazon will be investing an incremental $1 billion (Rs 7,088.87 crore) to digitise Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in the country. He said that investment will help bring over 10 million businesses online by 2025.
Reacting to this, Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of CAIT called the announcement a ‘promotional finance to Amazon India to crush retail trade’ in India.
“Jeff Bezos wants to build a false narrative to show that Amazon is pro small traders. What Amazon has done to empower 5 lakh retailers already registered on their portal. The answer will be big No. Does any such retailer exist in top 20 sellers of Amazon in past 5 years? The answer will be no. Then on what basis is Jeff Bezos claiming to export from India,” he said.
CAIT also condemned Infosys founder Narayana Murthy and Future Group Chairman Kishore Biyani for supporting Amazon through their presence at the event.
CAIT and several offline traders have been locking horns with Amazon and Flipkart alleging that these e-commerce players were violating FDI norms, indulging in deep discounting and predatory pricing by favouring their own sellers over others.
Bezos’ visit to India also comes at a time when the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an inquiry into the business practices of Amazon and Flipkart. This, after the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh alleged that the e-commerce giants give preference to certain sellers affiliated with or controlled by them, which has led to several other traders and sellers having to shut shop.