Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday told Parliament that there are concerns regarding the impact of big e-commerce players on small offline traders, and that the government is taking measures to deal with this and also protect consumers.
“As per the directives by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, we have come up with the draft rules to ensure that both the consumers get goods at reasonable prices and small traders also are not impacted,” he told the Lok Sabha in reply to a question, citing the draft e-commerce rules.
The minister’s statement comes a day after the Supreme Court declined to entertain a plea by e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart, saying they must face an inquiry by Competition Commission of India (CCI) for anti-competitive practices.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant said: “Big organisations like you (Flipkart and Amazon) should volunteer for inquiry… Inquiry has to be conducted.”
The bench declined to interfere with the orders of the Karnataka High Court, which refused to interfere with the preliminary enquiry ordered by the CCI into their alleged anti-competitive practices.
The e-commerce companies had moved the apex court challenging the Karnataka High Court’s July 23 order.
Amazon had moved the High Court against a CCI order which had called for a Director General level investigation into allegations of anti-competitive conduct in the online sale of smartphones on its platform. The Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM), the informant before the CCI, had alleged predatory pricing, deep discounting, preferential seller listing, and exclusive partnerships, among others, against Amazon and Flipkart.
Brick and mortar traders under the banner of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) have been at loggerheads with the e-commerce majors seeking a level playing field.