The Karnataka All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) wrote an open letter to the Karnataka Chief Minister requesting the state to stop the sales of non-essentials through foreign e-commerce websites, allegedging it is destroying local trade.
Bangalore: The All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) condemned what it called the “biased decision” of allowing e-commerce companies to sell non-essential products during the lockdown. In a letter to the Karnataka government, the Association said that the government failed to take into account the impact on the retail fraternity which is “already suffering due to unethical monopolistic trade activities” of “these foreign companies.”
The Government issued a new Notification dated May 26, 2021 allowing e-commerce companies to sell non-essential products in the lockdown. This, the association contends “clearly gives the impression that the government is supporting foreign e-commerce companies and not local retailers”. The association urges the government to understand their difficulties and intervene to take appropriate action.
“Online and in person sales are different,” said Brungesh, media advisor to the Karnataka Chief Minister’s office. He said that since e-commerce removes the risk of people congregating at shops, it isn’t a health risk. “I don’t know much about it so I won’t comment further,” he added.
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra on May 22, 2021 met with the AIMRA and assured the association that necessary action against these e-retailers would be taken. “We are grateful for your support,” tweeted AIMRA.
Large e-retailers have been selling their products during the lockdown. “I just placed an order for some clothes yesterday,” said Muskan Manhas, “They aren’t essential, I just wanted to buy clothes that I can wear when the lockdown is over.”
The association wrote that the decision to allow e-commerce companies to sell non-essential products in lockdown was taken only because of “the pressure or lobby of these foreign e-commerce companies.”
The association in a tweet said that the lockdown has suspended businesses, this has led small retailers towards depression.“Our business has been low since the start of the pandemic,” said Rajesh, owner of Kingdom Toys, Bengaluru, “Since the start of the current lockdown, our business has been in continuous loss.” Owner of SK Fashion, Bengaluru added that he had to shut down his business due to the losses he faced during the lockdown.
“Small retailers have been affected since the start of the pandemic. Some have tried saving their business by going online, or selling through Dunzo, or, Swiggy. They will have to adapt, but it will be very difficult if the government isn’t willing to help,” said Dr Stuti Mona Tripathi, finance and economic analyst. She added that small businesses contribute to the economy, since after agriculture, small businesses are the second largest employer in the economy.