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Piyush Goyal cautions e-commerce firms against alleged violation of FDI norms, warns of stern action

Sandeep Soni

Amid ongoing tussle between the traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart, Commerce minister Piyush Goyal cautioned e-retailers against flouting laws saying that violation of FDI policy will earn stern action against the one who will flout the policy, according to CAIT's Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal who met Goyal on Wednesday. "Government is seriously examining the matter in the light of parameters of the policy and very soon the government will come out in action mode," Khandelwal quoted the Commerce minister in a note released on Thursday.

Khandelwal had met the DPIIT Additional Secretary Shailendra Singh in a meeting held last week with Amazon VP Gopal Pillai and Flipkart Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajneesh Kumar against the alleged violation of the FDI policy by controlling the inventory and influencing the prices of products sold on their marketplaces.

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Goyal also assured that the issue of unethical business practices, as claimed by CAIT, is being looked at by the government closely and the charges levelled against Amazon and Flipkart. "The minister said that he is aware of the issue and that the government will ensure there is a level playing field between online and offline players without compromising the laws. He also asked the traders to take the e-commerce route for growth," Khandelwal told Financial Express Online.

Amazon and Flipkart continue to claim of any negligence on their parts with respect to non-compliance of regulations even as they play a key role in the e-commerce growth. "We are deeply committed to doing business the right way in India and appreciate the consultative approach that the Commerce Ministry & DPIIT  have taken and we continue to be willing to work with the government & all stakeholders to promote a regulatory environment that creates balanced growth that is good for India," Flipkart Rajneesh Kumar told Financial Express Online.

"We had an open and transparent interaction CAIT," an Amazon spokesperson had told Financial Express Online earlier adding that they are committed to helping onboard CAIT traders to be part of the digital economy and reach customers across India and worldwide.