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The retailers' argument

Introduction
The retailers' argument
  • Retailers contend that e-commerce marketplaces are essentially retailers as they "accept payments, make deliveries, take returns, and make refunds."
  • A.M Singhvi who represented the retailers in court said that the only difference was that the e-commerce portals were missing in physical form, and lacked any e-commerce elements.
  • The retailers who suffer due to e-commerce discounts wanted a clear demarcation.

India's biased FDI law

Fact
Information

Indian law forbids FDI in "business-to-consumer e-commerce" while allowing 100% FDI in "business-to-business segment."

Retailers Association takes government to Court

20 May 2015
Retailers Association takes government to Court
  • India's prime brick-and-mortar retailers hauled the government to court, commanding for a 'level playing field' in FDI norms with regard to the e-commerce players.
  • Retailers Association of India which embodies top retailers such as Future Group, Shoppers Stop and Reliance Retail took the step of taking the centre to court.
  • The association blamed e-commerce portals of "circumventing" FDI laws by declaring themselves as marketplaces.

AIFMRA files a petition against e-tailers

Aug 2015
AIFMRA files a petition against e-tailers
  • A petition was filed by the All India Footwear Manufacturers and Retailers Association (AIFMRA) against the online retailers contending that they had been violating the FDI norms.
  • The retailers claimed that the "transactions of e-tailers are taxed by state as a sale means that they are in a B2C business", which was a contravention of the present FDI policy.

Mobile retailers approach court against e-commerce giants

31 Aug 2015
Mobile retailers approach court against e-commerce giants
  • The Mobile Retailers Association admitted a case at the Kerala High Court regarding FDI violations.
  • The retailers contended that firms including Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal were entering into bulk deals with mobile manufacturers making business almost impossible for retail players.
  • This strategy was wiping out the traditional sellers and resulted in lakhs of retail jobs being lost.

Centre to clarify FDI terms for e-commerce

24 Sep 2015
Centre to clarify FDI terms for e-commerce
  • The Delhi High Court ruled that the e-commerce companies were engaged in "a prima facie violation" of foreign investment regulations and has issued a notice to the Central Government.
  • A high court bench has asked the Centre to respond to its notice within a 2-week time-frame.
  • The subsequent hearing on the subject has been scheduled for 14 October.

Delhi-HC holds order against e-commerce giants; orders probe

21 Nov 2015
Delhi-HC holds order against e-commerce giants; orders probe
  • The Delhi High Court declined from passing any interim order against the 21 e-commerce firms, like Snapdeal, Jabong and Myntra over accusations that they infringed on India's foreign direct investment rules.
  • The Enforcement Directorate was asked to initiate a probe by the court.
  • The court asked the Delhi government, the Central government and ED to submit affidavits in 4 weeks on the matter.

CAIT launches e-lala to fight online competition

24 Nov 2015
CAIT launches e-lala to fight online competition
  • In a fight against e-commerce, the country's apex traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has decided to launch 'e-lala', its own hyperlocal e-commerce venture.
  • It will be supported by around 5.5 crore small traders with brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Only a trader "who owns a physical store can only sell his products on the site." The payment gateway will be handled by HDFC Bank.

Aggressive growth plan of e-lala

Fact
Information

Launched by Urban Development Minister Venkiah Naidu, the e-lala portal will target getting 50,000 sellers in 100 cities by March 2016.

Retailers: Amazon has flouted FDI laws

21 Dec 2015
Retailers: Amazon has flouted FDI laws
  • The Retailers Association of India (RAI) filed a complaint with the government against Amazon.in, alleging that it has violated Indian FDI laws.
  • Amazon recently announced ₹200 gift vouchers to shoppers, after it was named the most-visited e-commerce website in the country.
  • RAI alleged that gift vouchers are business-consumer transactions which violate India's FDI laws, which only allow business-business transactions by foreign funded e-commerce companies.