R Chandrasekhar ( left) and Kiran Karnik, present and past Presidents of NASSCOM speak at the roundtable on FDI in retail e-biz in Delhi, May 29 2014
Corporate India puts it weight behind FDI in retail e-biz

New Delhi, May 31, 2014: Even as the new Bharatiya Janatha Party - led government took charge, corporate  India lost no time  in mustering its best and brightest voices to  lobby for opening up the country's  retail e-commerce sector to foreign direct investment-- a course of action that the  victorious political party  opposed in its electioneering.

At a  roundtable discussion  in the national capital, organised by Cybermedia -- the leading Indian technology publishing group, R. Chandrashekhar, President, of   the National Association of Sofgtware and Service Companies (NASSCOM), commented:  “The focus of the current Government is on manufacturing and overall economic development. We feel that the Government also needs to focus on a policy framework for allowing FDI in B2C e-commerce as presently the market players do face certain restrictions when it comes to raising funds. 100% FDI is allowed in the B2B segment, however Indian financiers are reluctant to invest when it comes to the B2C segment. Hence, investment through the FDI route is the need of the hour”.

Added Kiran Karnik, Chandrasekhar's predecessor as NASSCOM President, currently , Chairman of the  Confederation of Indian Industry's  National Committee on Broadband & Telecom : "“There are certain unwarranted fears amongst the retail industry that e-commerce will destroy jobs in India. However, it is just the opposite as e-commerce opens up new markets and creates new opportunities for SMEs and individuals across regions where none existed before. Also, since retail e-commerce involves a substantial logistic support part, it results in the creation of new jobs for the skilled.”

Arvind Gupta, Headof the IT Cell of the BJP responded with conciliatory noises which may or may  not find an echo where it  matters -- in the office of  Commerce and Industry Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman:  “Our government’s key focus is on the overall economic development and we are willing to extend our support to the industry in all possible ways. We are planning to roll out GST soon as it will cut down on multiple taxation on the manufacturing industry and benefit industry players. Revisiting the policy on FDI in retail e-commerce is also a part of our agenda and we are willing to consider the recommendations provided by the industry representatives on the same”.

A recommendation document containing inputs and feedback of the industry players will be submitted to the policy-making bodies of the government for them to review the current policy on FDI in e-commerce and also addresses issues related to Internet penetration, payment systems, logistics, improving supply chain efficiency and alternate mode of payments.
 The roundtable saw the presence of Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India  as well as representatives from the various e-commerce companies like Snapdeal.com, Yebhi.com and  Infibeam.com.
Pradeep Gupta
, Chairman and Managing Director, CyberMedia, moderated the discussion