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Indian Sellers Collective calls for stringent E-commerce policy

By Retail4Growth Team | July 05, 2021

The body organized a virtual panel discussion to deliberate on various challenges faced by small retailers/merchants in the wake of the Covid pandemic, policy loopholes, and unfair business practices of e-commerce firms that are creating livelihood challenges for small merchants.

The Indian Sellers collective, a non-governmental trade association and advocacy group, organized a virtual panel discussion to deliberate on various challenges faced by small retailers/merchants in the wake of the Covid pandemic, policy loopholes, and unfair business practices of e-commerce firms that are creating livelihood challenges for them. 

Stating that e-commerce firms are “causing 200% more job losses than the number of jobs they are creating and that families of 1 crore small businesses / merchants have gone into poverty amid pandemic”, the panel called education and empowerment of consumers, sellers, and small businesses on competition laws and policy support to address employment and livelihood challenges faced by the country.

The panel comprised Abhay Raj Mishra, President of Public Response Against Helplessness and Action for Redressal (PRAHAR); Spokesperson from AIOVA (All India Online Vendors Association); Dhairyashil Patil, National President of All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF); PM Ganeshraam, Chief Founder Patron of AICPDF; Shriram Baxi, General Secretary, Federation of All India Distributors Associations (FAIDA); MM Sharma, Advocate, Head – Competition Law & Policy, from Vaish Associates Advocates Law and CH Krishna, President of Federation of All India Distributors Association (FAIDA). 

The panel delved into the proposed amendments in Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 to understand its efficacy in addressing various issues faced by small merchants from the large e-commerce players. 

The panel concluded that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has a big role to play in protecting the interests of consumers and sellers alike and pressed on the need for education and empowerment of consumers and sellers/small businesses on competition laws so that they can exercise the competition laws, thereby checking the instances of exploitation of policy loopholes. It called for nailing down errant e-commerce firms through a comprehensive policy framework and advocated business-friendly policies to support MSMEs.

The panelists were unanimous in their view that the Covid-19 pandemic has added to the financial woes of small retailers in India who are already facing unfair competition from large e-commerce players. These e-commerce players are using their financial muscle and exploiting policy loopholes to capture market share thereby driving small retailers/merchants out of business and destroying their livelihoods.

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