Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry & Trade (CAMIT) protesting the relaxation given to e-commerce companies to supply non-essential goods during lockdown period has represented to Nirmala Sitharaman, FM & chairperson of COVID-19 Task Force, Prime Minister – Narendra Modi, Commerce Minister – Piyush Goyal, MSME Minister – Nitin Gadkari,, Chief Minister – Uddhav Thackeray and Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis with request for urgent intervention to revoke the permission to supply non-essential goods during lockdown period which Dipen Agrawal president of CAMIT termed as death warrant for traders..
Dipen Agrawal said that across the length and breadth of India traders have closed their respective business on the call given by Prime Minister without any demure. They are honouring the request to extend humanitarian support to workers and staff by not removing them from service. Traders are also providing social services in association with local authorities and non-government organisation and contributing to PM-CARE and respective state CMRF. In sum and substance the trading community are at their toes with their limited resources to help the migrant labour, homeless people and most vulnerable and marginalised section of society, he added.
Agrawal informed that e-commerce companies have time and again submitted to government that they are just technological platform providers between consumer and stockists. These companies claim that they are just facilitators, thus cannot be brought under MRTP Act. E-commerce players are not supposed to stock and sell goods. They are known to mock the rules and regulations framed by the government and accepted by them while securing permission to commence business in India. It is alleged that they indulge in predatory pricing and unfair market competition to eliminate small and marginal traders resulting in exploiting consumer. He highlighted that there can be no better example of world’s largest retailer Walmart, when they were unable to get a foothold in India they bought majority shares of Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce platform.
Agrawal further said that Finance Minister in her budget speech for 2020-21 had referred the trading community as the back bone of Indian economy. The back bone of our economy i.e. traders & shopkeepers, irrespective of their size and huge inventories piled up in warehouses are keeping their establishments closed even after knowing that their liability to pay rent, bank EMI, property tax, staff salaries and all other expenditures is to be honoured even if deferred for a while by government. In the prevailing situation, i.e. brick & mortar shops of non-essential goods remain close and E-Commerce companies are allowed to operate in supply of non-essential goods, it would be no less than cold blooded murder of traders by Government.
Dipen Agrawal said that CAMIT has communicated that there is general feeling among trading community of being back stabbed by not allowing them to operate with the same norms as that for E-commerce companies. Traders are willing to follow the same guidelines and adopt precautionary measures as prescribed for E-commerce companies to start operations for supply of non-essential goods. Agrawal added if such relaxation and level playing opportunity is not given to traders then NPA of loans will increase and brining Indian economy on track would be a herculean task.
CAMIT has requested government to stop discriminating between influential E-commerce giants and local Indian businessmen and shopkeepers. Also appealed to grant equal status and level operating field by permitting traders of non-essential goods to operate with conditions prescribed for E-commerce companies to start operations for supply of non-essential goods or revoke the relaxation given to E-commerce companies to deal in non-essential goods during the lockdown period in the interest of justice and equity.
Dipen Agrawal on behalf to trading community of the state has expressed hope for positive response and corrective measures from the people centric and sensitive government lead by our beloved Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi at centre and Chief Minister, Shri Uddhav Thackeray in state.