After Much Hype, Protest Against Walmart-Flipkart Deal Fizzles
The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch participated half-heartedly at a protest over the Walmart-Flipkart deal in Delhi.
In its press statement, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said it would oversee 1,000 nationwide protests over Walmart’s decision to pick up 77% stakes in Indian E-commerce giant Flipkart on 2 July 2018. Even the RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagaran Manch was expected to throw its weight behind the stir, except it did so only half-heartedly.
When The Quint reached Arya Samaj Road in New Delhi’s Karol Bagh, it only found around 35 traders at the sit-in venue. The protest, otherwise scheduled to begin at 11 am, only began at noon, after the lone member from the Sawadeshi jagaran Manch arrived.
The protest began with chants of trader unity, as participants held placards bearing the words ‘Walmart Go Back.’ But there were hardly any speeches or any marches, as had been planned. Instead, the protest turned into a media event, as members of the confederation faced TV cameras, lashing out at Walmart and Flipkart over alleged FDI violations.
At the end of the protest, the Confederation’s Praveen Khandelwal said “around 400 people had attended the protest.” When pointed out that less than 40 traders had participated, Khandelwal quickly added “they came and left in phases.”
The traders were protesting Walmart’s decision to pick up 77% stakes in Flipkart, for a cool $16 billion. The Confederation feels that Walmart’s entry in india would completely destroy their business and traders won’t be able to compete with big E-commerce giants and their pricing strategy.
Walmart is the world’s biggest offline retailer. It will procure the cheapest of products and dump it into the Indian retail market. This will destroy competition, as our traders won’t be able to compete with them and will fall out of the race.Praveen Khandelwal, General Secretary, Confederation of All India Traders
When asked why traders don’t come up with their own Ecommerce website, Satyendar Singh, said “Online businesses (e-commerce) are burning money. They have deep pockets to burn money and their game is different. We are small-time traders, who borrow money from banks and work at a small-scale. Our buying is limited.”
Ashwani Majajan, the co-convener of Swadeshi Jagran Manch, who was the only participant from the RSS-affiliated organisation, alleged several FDI violations in the Walmart-Flipkart deal.
According to him, although a platform is allowed in FDI, it cannot offer discounts or hold inventory. On any platform, a company (retailer) cannot account for over 25% of sales. These rules, he asserts, are being flouted by Flipkart. He suspects Walmart would bring about a Chinese inventory, if it the deal goes through.
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