Amazon replies to ‘East India Company 2.0' remark, uses ‘Make in India’ rebuttal
A day after the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-linked weekly termed Amazon Inc as “East India Company 2.0”, the e-commerce giant issued a statement on Monday highlighting how Indian small businesses have expanded in exports by selling crores of 'Made in India' products to customers across the world. The statement comes in response to an article "East India Company 2.0" in Panchajanya magazine, which accused the leading e-commerce company of conducting activities similar to ‘whatever the East India Company did in the 18th century’. Hitesh Shankar of the Panchajanya posted a cover of the weekly's latest edition on Twitter with a picture of Jeff Bezos, titled “East India Company 2.0”. After receiving criticism for the same, Shankar went on to defend the poster as “factual” in a video message.
"Whatever the East India Company did in the 18th century to capture India, the same is visible in the activities of Amazon," the article read. It also claimed that Amazon was creating a monopoly in the Indian market as "it has started taking initiatives for seizing the economic, political and personal freedom of the Indian citizens."
The allegations come in support of many Indian retailers who have frequently accused e-commerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart and others of giving preferential treatment to large-scale sellers over small businesses, an accusation that Amazon has previously denied.
Amazon responded to the cover story saying: “During the pandemic three lakh new sellers joined us... of which 75,000 were local neighbourhood shops (dukaans) from 450+ cities (selling) furniture, stationery, consumer electronics, beauty products, mobile phones, garments, medical products.” "Amazon's exports program is witnessing rapid momentum... today there are 70,000+ exporters from metros as well as Tier II, III and IV cities, selling crores of 'made in India' products to customers in 200 countries across the world - truly taking (it) global," it added.
Notably, Amazon is locked in a legal tussle over the takeover of Future Group and is facing a probe by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Congress has even demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the alleged bribery case involving the e-commerce giant.