—-Sandhya Malhotra

New Delhi, May 15: Following the Government’s recent decision to retain 51% FDI in multi-brand retail, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has expressed dismay over the decision. While another major software association NASSCOM along with e-tailers held a first round of meet with the government and sought 100% FDI in B2C e-commerce.

Ecommerce

“We were expecting Government to reject the notification of allowing 51% FDI in multi-brand retail, as was assured by all BJP leaders at various occasions during UPA regime. The CAIT is shocked with the development and will take up this matter with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and others in the Government,” said B. C. Bhartia and Praveen Khandelwal, National President & Secretary General respectively of CAIT.

Praveen CAIT

CAIT has called an emergent meeting of trade leaders on June 8 at Nagpur to decide the future course of action and it is contemplating a countrywide movement.

Traders across the Country are deeply resenting this move of the Government. They says that the new Government failed to consult the stakeholders on this issue.

CAIT delegates will meet Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Senior Ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari and senior leaders of other political parties. Effort will also be made to take a delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a CAIT spokesperson said.

The Government held its first round of consultations on the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy on e-commerce with stakeholders, including e-retail majors such as Flipkart, on Thursday to discuss concerns and examine the case for allowing foreign investment in the business-to-consumer (B2C) category.

“We are not taking any position. We have heard everybody… on whether they need FDI or not and whether it will affect the level playing field. We need many more meetings,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters after the consultations on Thursday.

Representatives from industry body CII, FICCI, Nasscom, and companies such as eBay, Snapdeal, Decathlon, H&M, and Ikea attended the meeting on Thursday.

National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) clarified its position on the issue, NASSCOM stated that the policy should address diverse needs of entrepreneurs and investors supporting both scaling up of operations and entrepreneurship ideas and therefore the need for 100% foreign investments in B2C e-commerce.

The current policy recognizes the need for FDI investment in a limited portion of the e-commerce value chain which is the B2B ecommerce. It is imperative that entrepreneurs, who have already made significant investments and are looking ahead to a robust growth and market share, should be allowed to seek investments to support business operations.

While talking about NASSCOM’s recommendations, R. Chandrasekhar, President, NASSCOM said, “E-commerce has seen funding to the tune of USD 3 billion and is growing tremendously. It is also attracting global interest as is evident from SoftBank’s investment of USD 10 billion in India over the next few years. To enable continued growth in the sector, NASSCOM has emphasized that 100% FDI should be allowed in B2C ecommerce and there should not be any conditions and stipulation on investment in back end infrastructure.”