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CAIT refuses to work with online marketplaces to help Kiranas

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Friday said it was unwilling to work with ecommerce marketplaces Flipkart and Amazon to develop small offline traders.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 09, 2019, 09.35 AM IST
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BENGALURU: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Friday said it was unwilling to work with ecommerce marketplaces Flipkart and Amazon to develop small offline traders. The statement comes amid reports suggesting that commerce and industries minister Piyush Goyal had asked ecommerce companies to work with CAIT.

Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of CAIT, told ET the traders’ body would rather work with large format Indian retailers to aid growth of kirana (corner) stores. “We have not heard from any parties concerned to work along with these ecommerce companies. Even if we do hear from them, we will say no. We would rather work with our own large retailers if need be,” he said.

The lobby group said it had not been informed by the commerce ministry, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, or Flipkart and Amazon, about working together for development of small traders. “It’s a very complicated matter since the offline businesses have suffered loss of about 50% in the recent festive season due to the malpractices of ecommerce players who are indulging in predatory pricing, deep discounting, loss funding, controlling inventory, preferential treatment to a few sellers, influencing prices which constitute violation of the FDI policy of the government,” according to a press release issued by CAIT on Friday. Flipkart and Amazon did not respond to ET’s queries on the subject till the press time on Friday.

Flipkart and Amazon have previously said they aid small sellers in using their platform and have complied with FDI laws. CAIT has written several letters to commerce minister Piyush Goyal, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other top level government officials seeking action against the two companies.

In an email to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month, Khandelwal alleged ecommerce marketplaces were causing massive losses to the state exchequer by discounting prices of products during their festive season sales and not paying the full amount of GST on products they were selling.

CAIT’s allegations have been mirrored by other retail associations, such as the All India Mobile Retailers Association. Other organisations, such as Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, have also backed curbs on online marketplaces, alleging they are hurting small retailers.

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