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Amazon’s investment not doing India a great favour: Goyal

Bezos also announced that the e-commerce major, through its global footprint, will help SMBs export products worth $10 billion by 2025.

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Piyush Goyal

New Delhi, Jan 16 : Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday that e-commerce firm Amazon was not doing “India a great favour” by investing $1 billion in the country.

Goyal was speaking at the Raisina Dialogue which is a multilateral conference held annually in New Delhi.

He said India allows e-commerce companies to work on the marketplace model where buyers and sellers are free to buy and sell and follow the rules of the marketplace and laws of the country, which clearly say that FDI in multi-brand retail will only be allowed up to 49 per cent.

“… Secondly, they may have put in a billion dollars but then, if they make a loss of a billion dollars every year, they will jolly well have to finance that billion dollars,” he replied to a question during a panel discussion at the event.

“So, it is not as if they are doing a great favour to India when they invest a billion dollars,” he said.

According to the minister, the company has been investing in India over the last few years, in warehousing and certain other activities.

However, the minister wondered as to how a company employing the e-commerce market-place model makes massive losses.

He said that such losses raise questions, whether the company is indulging in predatory pricing or other unfair trade practices, which will be investigated by authorities.

The minister’s statement assumes significance since Amazon’s global CEO Jeff Bezos on Thursday announced a $1 billion worth of investment into India.

The e-commerce firm’s global CEO is on a three-day visit to India. On Thursday, he announced an investment of $1 billion in small and medium businesses in India.

Bezos also announced that the e-commerce major, through its global footprint, will help SMBs export products worth $10 billion by 2025.

The Amazon CEO’s India visit comes at a crucial time as the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an enquiry into the business practices of e-commerce majors Amazon and Flipkart.

Traders have staged protests across India against Bezos’ visit under the aegis of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). CAIT has been protesting for the past few months against what it calls “deep” discounts offered by the e-commerce platforms.

After the minister’s statement at the Raisina Dialogue, CAIT termed it as bold and pragmatic.

“CAIT in its submission to the government has been maintaining that Amazon and Flipkart are bringing FDI in India only to fund their losses arising out of deep discounting and predatory pricing, which is a direct attempt to destroy the ecosystem of Indian retail by trampling upon the livelihood of seven crore traders,” CAIT said in a statement.

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Sensex crashes 1,100 points; Rs 5 lakh crore gone in 5 minutes over Coronavirus

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Sensex down

Mumbai, Feb 28 The Indian stocks market crashed early on Friday, with the Sensex falling 1,100 points as coronavirus fears deepened.

At 9.50 a.m., the BSE Sensex was trading at 38,597.53, lower by 1,148.13 points or 2.89 per cent from the previous close of 39,745.66.

It had opened at the intra-day high of 39,087.47 and has so far touched a low of 38,587.51 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 11,297.45, lower by 335.85 points or 2.89 per cent from its previous close.

Concerns of coronavirus turning into a pandemic and spreading into countries outside China have off late impacted investor sentiments both in the global and domestic markets.

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Vodafone Idea seeks Rs 35 per GB as minimum floor price

According to the source, Vodafone Idea wants minimum price of outgoing calls should be fixed at 6 paise per minute.

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Vodafone, Idea

New Delhi, Feb 27 : Vodafone Idea has sought fixing minimum tariffs for mobile data at Rs 35 per GB, which is about 7 time the current rate, and for calls at 6 paise per minute along with monthly charges from April 1, to help it pay statutory dues.

Struggling to clear adjusted gross revenue dues of Rs 53,000 crore to comply with a Supreme Court order, the loss-making telco has sought 18 years time to clear the dues, including a three-year moratorium on payment of interest and penalty, according to official sources.

In a letter to the Department of Telecommunications, the company said it wants minimum price of data should be fixed at Rs 35 per gigabyte and minimum monthly connection charge at Rs 50 from April 1, 2020. Current mobile internet prices are in the range of Rs 4-5 per GB.

According to the source, Vodafone Idea wants minimum price of outgoing calls should be fixed at 6 paise per minute.

The demand to raise call and internet rates from Vodafone Idea comes within three months of the company raising rates by up to 50 per cent.

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No impact of Delhi violence on investor confidence: Sitharaman

“But that shouldn’t cause worries, because FDI flows were steady and coming in good numbers while the forex is also doing very well,” she said.

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Nirmala Sitharaman

Guwahati, Feb 27: Claiming green shoots were visible in the Indian economy, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday denied any adverse impact on investor sentiments due to the Delhi violence and the ongoing anti-CAA protests in various parts of the country.

“The sentiments of foreign investors have not been dampened,” she told a media meet when asked whether investor confidence has taken a hit due to the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the violence in the national capital that has left at least 37 dead and over 200 injured.

Referring to her experiences at the recent Ministerial Conference on International Taxes in Riyadh, she said: “Nowhere was there a concern on something happening in India. On the contrary, there were very prominent investors who said they are now even open to open up a representation office in India, which they don’t have till now.”

The minister said she in fact saw lot of interest on India’s announcement of a national infrastructure pipeline.

“There is interest in India. It continues. And there is more interest in India for investors,” she said.

On whether the Indian companies were apprehensive of a raw material scarcity due to the coronavirus outbreak in China and elsewhere, Sitharaman said she held a meeting with 20-23 industries before leaving for Saudi Arabia, but none of them expressed any anxiety on that count.

“They didn’t express any anxiety about raw material supply, nor did they express any anxiety about exports being disturbed.

“However, of course, some of them felt after two months if the situation did not move, as regards containing the virus, they may start having problems of raw material availability, for which we are trying to see how best we can help them,” Sitharaman said.

To a query on the sluggish economy, the minister said following concrete steps by the government and the Reserve Bank of India, the mood was gradually turning positive.

“There are green shoots visible. Many of them are sustained, even if one or two are weakening. We are very clear that they will also revive,” she said, adding there were monthly ups and owns of some indicators.

“But that shouldn’t cause worries, because FDI flows were steady and coming in good numbers while the forex is also doing very well,” she said.

The minister conceded that there was inflationary pressure when due to climate change issues, prices of crops like onions went up.

“But now, India has lifted ban on exports of onion. That shows there is sufficient quantity of onions in the market, and indicates inflationary pressures are coming down,” said Sitharaman.

“The mood is gradually changing. There is every positive sign,” she said.

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