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New Delhi: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has strongly criticised the Karnataka Government for entering into an MOU with "tainted" e-commerce company Amazon to help drive e-commerce exports from the State.

"We strongly object to this MOU of Karnataka Government with Amazon which is facing probe by law enforcing agencies and also facing court cases out of which one in Karnataka High Court, for charges of engaging into mal-practices, destroying competition and killing the small retailers of the country with its sinister designs of policies for controlling not only the e-commerce but retail trade of the Country as well," said CAIT.

"It is unvelievable that the Karnataka Government is unknown of these true facts and despite of the same, it has entered an MOU with Amazon, is a serious concern of the traders of not only in Karnataka but across the country. How can a State Government overlook probe and charges that are being levelled against Amazon. It is disgusting that on a day when Enforcement Directorate has initiated a probe against Amazon, the very said day, the Karnataka Government is signing an MOU with Amazon whose hands are glued with blood of traders and who is a known offender of law and policies across the world-said B.C.Bhartia, National President and Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of the CAIT in a joint statement.

Bhartia and Khandelwal said that this step of the Karnataka Government is highly deplorable and amounts to back stab the trading community and we shall not be taking it so kindly.

"We have today sent a communication to Karnataka Chief Minister B S.Yedurappa and will also apprise Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and BJP President J.P.Nadda about the gross resentment of the traders and will ask as to what was the need of signing a MOU with a tainted Company which has been held responsible for violation of FDI policy and FEMA Act by Delhi High Court in a recent judgement", CAIt said.

"Why not the Karnataka Government, if really interested, empower the traders of the State to become capable of global business. What steps have been taken so far by the Karnataka Government to facilitate the traders of Karnataka in boosting their domestic trade which is in a very dilipidiated situation and overlooking the need of putting its house in order, the Karnataka Government is exploring boost in exports through a MNC Company which has contributed nothing for accomplishment of vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "vocal for local" and "Atmnirbhar Bharat". This step of the Karnataka Government is much against this vision of PM Modi"-said the trade leaders.

"However we have abundant praise for Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal because on the instance of the CAIT, Goyal has already ordered the DPIIT officials to draft a fresh Press Note after completely plugging the loopholes of the FDI policy in eCommerce and such a step will force these Companies to either follow the provision of FDI policy and FEMA both in letter and spirit or else pack up their baggage from India",CAIT said.

The trade leaders further said that CAIT has submitted to Goyal that e-commerce trade in India should be looked into a comprehensive manner and not only the trading of goods but all kinds of services availed through any online method like booking of tickets, hotels, food delivery, travel & logistics, various other services ordered or delivered through any online mode should be construed as e-commerce and therefore, such services should also be brought under the ambit of proposed e-commerce policy.

CAIT said that the instance of Karnataka Government has made it believe strongly that there might be some elements in the bureaucratic system who are shielding these Companies and those officials need to be exposed whether in Central Government or at the level of State Governments.

Both trade leaders further informed that the " CAIT will soon move to Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) with sufficient details to narrate how these Companies are violating various laws and policies and how the bureaucratic system is lethargic in dealing with several complaints made over the years against mal-practices of these Companies despite of the clear stand of the Government on this issue.

Bhartia and Khandelwal said that in its lust to get a few dollars of FDI, these companies are playing with the livelihood of over 40 crore people employed/supported through more than 8.5 crores small traders. A wrong narrative has been created by these Companies that they are bringing FDI into the Country which is a blatant lie and much away from the bitter truth. In fact, the FDI invested in these Companies are not being used to create infrastructure in the Country, rather being used for cash burning in keeping its ulterior motives of business policy including predatory pricing, deep discounting, loss funding, creating exclusivity, holding inventory and controlling the sales at their respective portals, CAIT

Bhartia and Khandelwal said that these MNCs operating in e-commerce business of India are treating our country as a banana republic and behaving like another version of East India Company in a new manner, though the era of colonialism is thing of past and has been buried in history.

CAIT said there is a general impression among the trading community that these companies are enjoying immunity by law enforcing Agencies which is prompting them to treat India as an open playground to play the game with their choicest rules and there is no one to check them. The CAIT is committed to removing such a situation and therefore, it has planned to launch an aggressive national campaign not only against Amazon and Flipkart but also other e-commerce portals dealing in goods and services both.

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