NEW DELHI: The tussle between Reliance, a handful of Indian e-commerce entities and global giants or foreign-funded entities came out in the open on Thursday, with the latter demanding policy consistency to foster investment.
At a meeting convened by the department for promotion of industrial and internal trade (DPIIT), several ecommerce players — ranging from Amazon and Flipkart to Udaan, Grofers and Pepperfry — told the government that current policy regime was sufficient.
On the other side were Reliance Retail, Jio, Relianceowned Urban Ladder, Info Edge and Snapdeal, which suggested a review of the norms. Some of these entities suggested that capital was being dumped into the country, while another complained of FDI policy not being implemented effectively. A third player alleged that kirana outlets were hit due to e-commerce.
Reliance accused the foreign players of setting up complex structures to circumvent rules, a charge that they denied. Some of the companies suggested that the government has the tools to investigate violations, which was a better way to tackle the complaints, instead of changing policy every now and then.
The meeting came amid demands for a revamp of the current FDI rules, which has found some traction within a section of the government but can only be implemented after wider consultations.
The e-commerce players have been asked to submit their positions over the next few days, said sources.
“The message from a majority of the participants was that a long-term outlook is needed. Policy certainty is important to remain attractive destination for investment. It is a matter of global reputation. E-commerce has made huge impact on MSMEs, Make in India, infrastructure and jobs,” said a participant.
In fact, some of the Indian startups, which have grown in scale, have suggested that periodic policy changes impact them in accessing capital as investors are unsure of stability. Foreign companies are particularly worried about “retrospective” policy amendments, which require them to rework structure of their existing investments.