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CAIT demands action against e-com firms over alleged supply of non-essential items amid the pandemic

CAIT
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The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has sought action against e-commerce majors Amazon and Flipkart over the alleged supply of non-essential goods amid the restrictions imposed due to the unprecedented rise in coronavirus cases.

In a letter addressed to the Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, the traders’ body alleged that in the middle of the pandemic, the e-commerce majors are focusing on capturing the market share from small traders by defining every item as essential including mobile phones and accessories.

“They have now started taking undue advantage of the pandemic by making illegitimate financial gains by supplying non-essential items which have been strictly prohibited by many state administrations due to ongoing lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” said the letter written by CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal.

Local lockdowns imposed in several parts of the country to curb the spread of COVID infection provide for the delivery of only essential items. CAIT has underlined how the restrictions have been flouted by the E-commerce majors for growing their business at the expense of small and medium-sized businesses.

“The pandemic has hit the retail industry hard and since 2020, the industry has seen major upheavals. It is surprising to observe that while small and medium-sized businesses (kiranas) are languishing, foreign e-commerce companies are growing exponentially at the cost of small business,” CAIT said.

While observing the role played by Kirana stores, the statement read, “It is important to prohibit these foreign e-commerce entities from gaining market share at the cost and life of small and medium kirana stores in India because Kirana stores have formed the backbone of the industry over the years”..

“We pray for immediate action prohibiting these foreign e-commerce entities from ruthlessly destroying the Indian retail sector with their deep discounting and predatory pricing mechanism and trampling the lives of over 40 crore Indians.”

CAIT has also urged that the government should bring in “a new press note with clarifications with regards to what is permitted and prohibited for marketplace e-commerce entities, to expedite the process and save the industry for the ulterior motives of these foreign entities”.

The traders’ body also blamed the government for turning a blind eye to the “violations” of the e-commerce giants as they are “larger than life corporations”.

The retailers’ association also urged Mr Goyal to issue guidelines on “what is permitted and prohibited for market e-commerce entities.”

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