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