Minister for Industry and Commerce Nirmala Sethuraman met stakeholders from e-commerce as well as industry bodies on Thursday, May 14, 2015 to discuss various issues like taxation as well as FDI for e-commerce.
In the meeting, attended by representatives from NASSCOM, FICCI, COO, CII, CAIT, Amazon, eBay, etc., proposals were put forward to increase the FDI limit for e-commerce to 100 per cent. The proponents of this were of the view that it would encourage smaller e-retailers while making the retail ecosystem more competitive.
“FICCI feels that FDI should be allowed in B2C e-commerce, with a focus on sourcing from manufacturers and in a phased manner. The idea is to emphasize that there has to be a parity between online and offline retail policy with respect to FDI levels,” said FICCI in a statement.
NASSCOM, too, has acknowledged its support to increase FDI limit to 100 per cent.
However, it is a given that any increase in FDI for e-retail will be hotly contested by traditional retailers and industry bodies representing them. For example, there were reports that a number of retailers had boycotted the meeting to show their stance against an increase in FDI. The Retailers Association of India (RAI), which did not participate in the meeting, has also spoken out against, what it calls, “double standard” with regards to FDI for B2C e-commerce and multi-channel retail.
Thursday’s meeting was the first of a number of such discussion forums being planned between the Ministry and retailers. FICCI said that the Minister has asked the body to conduct a study on the issue and submit it in a month’s time.