For the past few years, economic commentators have been watching India become one of the economic powerhouses of the world. The rise of the internet has seen Indian businesses expand rapidly and they are now challenging or even beating their European and American competitors in a variety of sectors. Much of this has been down to the fact that ecommerce in India has been at the forefront, not just with some of their larger companies, but with many of their smaller online retailers, many of whom are members of the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA).
The All India Online Vendors looks after the interests of the smaller Indian online vendors and they meet, as you may expect, online on a form on the All India Online Vendors Association website. This week has seen the AIOVA draft a petition that has alleged that ecommerce firms including Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal have been violating existing marketplace rules of government. The petition goes on to demand that steps have to be taken by the Indian government that will protect both online sellers and buyers in the years to come. The petition states:
“Even today, the marketplaces are openly violating these rules and there is no enforcement from the government. We require special tribunals to take up sellers’ issues the way consumer courts, electricity tribunals, debt recovery tribunals and others have been set up.”
The petition will be delivered to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, finance minister Arun Jaitley and commerce and industries minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Much of the grievances stem from the fact that the telecoms sector is still feeling the impact of huge debts, whilst carriers face pressure on profitability and revenue. Other grievance that have been raised by the All India Online Vendors Association include:
- A grievance cell for sellers
- A competitive market for all
- The prevention of cartelisation
- The prevention of monopolies
- The creation of accounting standards
- The creation of auditing standards
- Disclosure norms to prevent scams
Much of the grievance stem from allegations from small and medium sellers are being treated unfavourably by marketplaces who they allege, favour consumers and larger online retailers.
The All India Online Vendors Association have been active over the past 12 months in representing the views and interests of their members. Recently, the AIOVA wrote to the Indian government about the number of outstanding dues and goods in transit or refunds from Snapdeal. They also asked the Indian commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman to intervene in the matter, which she did, as well as agree to look into the wider concerns of small and medium online retailers.