Sellers’ body urges Narayana Murthy to end partnership with Amazon

Yatti Soni Bengaluru | Updated on July 19, 2021

NR Narayana Murthy   -  The Hindu

The Indian Sellers Collective, an association of online sellers, has written an open letter to Infosys founder Narayana Murthy requesting him to part ways with Amazon. The largest seller on Amazon India, Cloudtail, is a joint venture of Infosys founder and Amazon. Other small sellers associations have also time and again criticised Murthy for the joint partnership with the global e-commerce giant.

In the latest letter, the sellers said, “Murthy, has been the idol of millions of Indians...but it has been changing since 2014, because of Murthy being in partnership with Amazon through a name-lending arrangement with Cloudtail acting as a front for Amazon’s retail business and defied the objectives of the policies of the Government of India.”

The letter claimed that this arrangement between Amazon and Murthy does not violate India’s FDI regulations on paper. However, in reality, it is the mysterious Hober Mallow Trust that actually owns and controls Cloudtail. To support its claim, the sellers association said the senior leadership of Cloudtail as well as the majority of board members are all former Amazon employees. The DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) Press Note 2 of 2018 restricted e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart from having more than 25 per cent stake in online vendors.

Commenting on the issue, Ashwani Mahajan, National co-convener of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, said, “Foreign retailers operating e-commerce marketplaces in India have been finding creative routes to flout retail FDI laws. This is a cause of worry among the Indian seller community, necessitating a need for continued strengthening of the policies governing Indian e-commerce. Amazon India, through arrangements with companies like Narayana Murthy’s Cloudtail, is indulging in predatory pricing and discounting thereby destroying the business of offline retailers and small sellers.”

Abhay Raj Mishra, President, Public Response Against Helplessness and Action for Redressal (PRAHAR), added that foreign e-commerce retailers operating in India have time and again mocked the spirit of the law while following the letter of the spirit. Amazon’s covert understanding with Cloudtail, a majority company of Narayana Murthy is one such glaring example.

Indian Sellers collective is a non-governmental trade association and advocacy group based in India. Its members include Public Response Against Helplessness and Action for Redressal, Federation of All India distributors Association, All India Consumer Products Distribution Federation, All India Mobile Retailers Association (aimra), All India Online Vendor Association (AIOVA), and FMCG Distributors and Traders Association.

Published on July 19, 2021

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