16/01/2020 12:51 PM IST

Jeff Bezos In India: What Happened To Planned Protests Against Amazon?

CAIT had planned to organise peaceful protests against Jeff Bezos during his India visit.

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Mobile dealers and members of Ahmedabad Mobile Dealer's Association hold placards as they protest against Amazon in Ahmedabad on January 15, 2020. Inc CEO Jeff Bezos on Wednesday announced his company will invest $1 billion for small and medium businesses in India. Amazon, according to Reuters, said the investment will help bring more than 10 million Indian businesses online and enable exports of India-made goods worth $10 billion by 2025. 

CAIT called Bezos’s investment announcement a “promotional finance” for Amazon India to crush retail trade and encourage predatory pricing, according to PTI.

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal termed the target of exporting India-made goods worth $10 billion “ridiculous”. He told The Economic Times that companies like Amazon and Flipkart were selling products below the market rates because of which small traders were losing out on business. 

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The group also said that over 5 lakh traders supported its protests and about 5,000 trade associations participated. However, Reuters reported that protests so far have been small. There were about 50 demonstrators each at the one in Delhi and Odisha.

“Jeff Bezos Go Back, Amazon Go Back” slogans were raised by traders at the Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, The Economic Times report said. A few traders also turned up near the Amazon Smbhav venue in the national capital, but no major protest was held. The traders left after speaking to reporters, The Economic Times report added.

CAIT, as Reuters pointed out, has been protesting since 2015 against Amazon and Flipkart, accusing them of deep discounts and flouting India’s foreign investment rules. Both the online retailers have denied these allegations. 

The Competition Commission of India had on Monday ordered an investigation of Amazon and Flipkart over alleged violations of competition law. CCI’s probe is to review of allegations that the online retailers were promoting some “preferred sellers” and in turn hurting business for other, smaller sellers.

The complaint was filed by Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, a group representing small- and medium-sized businesses. They alleged that several of Amazon and Flipkart’s preferred sellers were affiliated with, or controlled by, the companies themselves, either directly or indirectly.

Flipkart has said it is “fully compliant” with all laws, while Amazon said it welcomed “the opportunity to address allegations.”

(With inputs from PTI and Reuters)