Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), in an effort to abide by the ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaigns of the Modi Government have been very vociferous against Amazon’s anti-market activities. Battling aggressively for reform, CAIT has been on the forefront to speak against global e-commerce giant and has been urging the government to strictly keep the company’s monopolistic activities in check. In a new development, CAIT has now joined hands with the global campaign ‘Make Amazon Pay’ to further criticise and act against Amazon’s predatory practices.
The global campaign, ‘Make Amazon Pay’ consists of warehouse workers, climate activists, citizens and, organisations around the world who have taken it upon themselves to speak up against Amazon which makes giant profits at a huge cost to workers and the planet. It would interest the readers to know that while during COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos became the first person in history to amass $200 billion in personal wealth, Amazon’s warehouse workers have been risking their lives and suffering due to low pay.
Being the harmful business practice it is, Amazon’s carbon footprint is larger than two-thirds of all countries in the world. Over and above that, in 2019, Amazon paid just 1.2% tax in the United States of America, where the corporation holds its headquarters.
Joining the campaign, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said, “We express our support and solidarity with the just cause of the global movement ‘Make Amazon Pay’. Indian traders led by CAIT are ready to join the campaign, which is supported by warehouse workers, environmental activists and advocates for racial, tax and data justice around the world.”
The traders’ body further said in a statement,” It is not just in India that Amazon is facing criticism for its unfair and potentially exploitative practices. Wherever Amazon operates in the world, it is being criticised for anti-competitive business practices, exploiting its workers, and damaging the climate.”
“With such exploitative practices, companies like Amazon will destroy India’s local business culture and will destabilise the foundation of India’s MSME sector, which is the lifeline of the Indian economy. Therefore, we are opposing the business model of Amazon,” Khandelwal added.
Taking matters even further, Khandelwal said that the organisation will be observing December 1-7 as ‘Expose Offenders Week’ in which the trade associations will launch a vigorous campaign “against e-commerce companies who are habitual law offenders and will impress upon the government to bring e-commerce policy with an empowered regulatory authority”. This week will see numerous trade organisations lobby the government to create e-commerce policy which will prevent big businesses from allegedly monopolising the online market.
Since the past couple of months, CAIT has been vocal in calling out Amazon’s exploitive and unfair business practices. When Amazon had been found flouting the government’s rules of origin, and the centre has imposed a paltry fine of Rs 25,000 on the company in response to this, CAIT had called for more stringent punishment. Demanding a 7-day ban, the organisation had called for “exemplary punishment”. Prior to that CAIT had written to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal alleging that Amazon was violating Foreign Direct Investment Policy and Foreign Exchange Management Act.
Now the organisation has joined hands with a global movement against Amazon and is coming down aggressively on the e-commerce giant. It is pertinent to note that CAIT is the apex body of Traders’ Union in India, representing 4,000 traders’ bodies and more than 7 crore traders. Thus, when an organisation of this size, scale and influence is determined to ‘Make Amazon Pay’, the e-commerce giant really has things to worry about.