The RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has demanded that the government should immediately withdraw the permissions given to e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart-Walmart to operate in India as these firms are “blatantly contravening rules”.
In a resolution passed at its national conclave recently, the outfit also said a CBI probe should be ordered into the operations of Amazon, Flipkart-Walmart and other multinational e-commerce companies, while alleging that these firms are doing business in India “blatantly” violating the FDI (foreign direct investment) regulations.
“Foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail trade is regulated through the FDI policy. Foreign players cannot have an inventory-based model to operate (in India). They are also barred from influencing prices by cash-burning models. Multinational e-commerce companies such as Amazon and Walmart-Flipkart are blatantly contravening rules and operating uncontrolled in India,” the SJM claimed in the resolution passed at its 15th national conclave in Gwalior on December 26.
Amazon is “on a spree” to acquire brick-and-mortar retail outlets, along with its e-commerce retail activities, the outfit claimed, adding that the company’s investments in Shoppers Stop and the More Retail chain are “major steps in this direction”.
“From 2017-18 to 2019-20, in three years, Amazon has spent Rs 9,788 crore on legal and professional fees in India. Internal sources have exposed that the money is being routed through these accounts for bribing officials in India,” the SJM alleged.
This proves that licences and permissions were obtained by all such e-commerce companies “fraudulently, using unfair means”, it said.
“This is a very serious matter. The Rashtriya Sabha of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch demands that all the permissions given to these companies be withdrawn forthwith and all their activities be declared illegal,” the outfit demanded in the resolution.
“The entire matter should be investigated by the CBI and as soon as the government officers, including people sitting in high offices, gaining from these companies directly or indirectly are identified, they should be sent on leave to ensure a fair investigation into the matter and be punished for their offences,” it added.
The SJM claimed that Amazon and Flipkart occupy 80 per cent of the online marketing space and the discounts they offer are “adversely” impacting the offline markets, neighbourhood shops and grocery stores.
“Along with this, people engaged in the wholesale and the transport sectors are also getting adversely affected by the e-commerce giants…. In the past few years, mobile shops have been closed down due to unfair trade practices of the e-commerce giants,” it said.
The RSS-affiliate accused Amazon of giving preferential treatment “to a selected group of sellers including Cloudtail and Appario” to hurt small retailers, “bypassing the Indian FDI regulations”.
“Amazon scooped up data from its own sellers to launch competitive products and brands such as Solimo and Amazon Basics. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is another operations being carried out by Amazon in India to exploit the retailers by charging very heavy fees in the garb of helping them in improving their presence on the e-market place.
“Amazon compels small suppliers to hold substantial minimum quantity of their range of products at its fulfilment centres. These suppliers are also required to pay for the warehousing, transportation etc. It has resulted in very high inventory cost for vendors,” it alleged.