COUNTRYWIDE DHARNA STAGED TODAY BY OFFLINE RETAILERS ON ONLINE RETAIL FIASCO
STRONG DEMAND OF FORMATION OF RULES & REGULATIONS & REGULATORY AUTHORITY
In their first major show of resentment and anguish over current fiasco on online retail business, the offline traders across the Country staged series of Dharna today at more than 150 cities in different states of the Country led by a Dharna at Jantar Mantar at New Delhi. The series of Dharna was held under the umbrella of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) demanding investigation into business modules of online retail platforms and their pricing mechanism and formation of a regulatory authority to regulate and monitor all sorts of retail trade in India.
The Dharna, held in the wake of unrealistic discounts offered by online retailers in the just-concluded Diwali festival was held in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Calicut, Cochin, Kolkata Chandigarh, Lucknow, Nagpur, Baroda, Kanpur, Dehradoon, among other places. In Delhi, beside large number of other organizations’, the Dharna was prominently joined by Delhi Mobile Dealers Association, Delhi Computer Dealers Association, All India Distributors Association, Consumer Electronics Traders Association, Book Publishers Association etc.
Addressing protestors at New Delhi, CAIT Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal said that business of offline retail was down by at least 45% because of the predatory pricing mechanism and non-transparent & unchecked business practices adopted by e-retailers. There has to be a law for conducting any format of trade in the County and therefore like US, UK, China & European Countries where they have established Rules & Regulations for e-retail, India too must have specific Act, Rules & Regulations for E Commerce business in India-said Khandelwal.
In USA, E Commerce business is regulated through Federal Trade Commission and in UK, the E Commerce business is regulated through Electronic Commerce (E C Directive) Regulations, 2002 whereas in European Union it is regulated via EU Electronic Commerce Directive. In such a situation, the Government must immediately formulate Rules & Regulations for Indian E Commerce Business. China too has various rules & regulations to keep a check on e retail business.
Not only the offline trade but entire India Uninc comprising of Traders, Transporters, SMEs, Truck Operators, Farmers, Hawkers, Cooperative institutions and Consumers will be motivate to join hands together to demand cleaning operation of E Commerce in India. The CAIT has convened a meeting of senior officials of Brand Companies in Mobiles, Consumer Electronics, FMCG, Computers & other segments, on forthcoming 5th November at New Delhi since their respective brand image is also being affected and the long established confidence between Companies & the offline retailers is at stake-said CAIT.
We are neither against online retail format of trade nor against any online retailer but the business practices of online retailers are dicey having no Government check, unfair, unhealthy and against all business norms thereby creating an uneven level playing field which is badly affecting the offline trade and that is why we are demanding Rules & Regulations for entire retail spectrum of the Country-said Mr. B.C.Bhartia, CAIT National President.
Brick and mortar stores have to pay numerous taxes and undertake large-scale paper work, while e-retailers are registered in one state and making deliveries across the country, causing revenues losses to states, where they are not registered. Under the present structure, the business executed through online retail remains unchecked. No tax authority of any State could firmly say up to what extent the goods are being consumed in their respective State through online retail. Therefore, a check of taxation authorities is more necessary like offline trade.
It is most astonishing and surprising that loss making companies are offering huge discounts and yet financers including business tycoons are advancing finances to them on a large scale. It can happen only in India and that too in online retail trade-said CAIT. Certainly, it creates a doubt as to why the financers are more interested in financing entities which are running in losses? Obviously, there could be some hidden reasons-said both Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal.
Delhi State President of CAIT Mr. Ramesh Khanna said that CAIT seeks constitution of a Special Task Force of taxation experts to examine the compliance of taxation obligations of e-retailers and to study whether there is any tax avoidance. CAIT also wants the Centre to set up a joint committee of senior officials and stakeholders to study the impact of online retail business on offline markets in addition to constituting a Board of Internal Trade for development of business avenues in domestic trade and its empowerment and to upgrade and modernize the existing retail trade.