BENGALURU: After fighting e-commerce biggies Amazon and Flipkart for allegedly flouting FDI norms and resorting to “predatory pricing” to bleed India’s brick-and-mortar retail traders, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has decided to take the plunge into online retailing.
CAIT, which has 70 million traders in the country as members, will soon start nationwide registration of traders to bring them on an e-commerce platform.
The pilot project has already begun in Madhya Pradesh, where individual e-stores have been created for retail traders, said CAIT General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal.
This will be launched at a national level over the next five months, Khandelwal said, adding the traders will have the licence required to operate such a platform.
Known for its stiff opposition to e-commerce, the traders’ body had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal seeking a ban on major e-commerce sites, accusing them of deep discounting, predatory pricing and preferential treatment to select traders causing huge revenue loss to the local business ecosystem as well as to the government.
The Competition Commission of India had already initiated an investigation into the allegations made by a Delhi traders’ body against e-commerce portals of violation of various provisions of the Competition Act (2002). The CCI ordered its director-general to investigate the violations of Section 26(1) of the Competition Act, 2002 and submit a report within 60 days.
Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos during his recent India visit announced that the e-commerce giant would pump in $1 billion to bring small and medium businesses onto the platform, which took the total amount invested in India to $6.5 billion. In 2018, American retailer Walmart acquired a major stake (77%) in Flipkart through a $16-billion deal.
$120 billion and growing
Growing at 50% per annum, India’s e-commerce industry is expected to cross $120 billion in 2020. According to some projections, India is set to overtake the US to become the second-largest market globally