Traders go on nationwide strike against Flipkart-Walmart deal

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Guwahati: Shops remain closed during a day-long strike called by Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) across the country in protest against foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail trade in Guwahati on Sept 28, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

A nationwide traders’ strike was called by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) who had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the Walmart-Flipkart deal and foreign direct investment in retail.

In response to the call for a “Bharat Trade Bandh” the commercial markets across the country were closed on Friday, a CAIT statement said.

The trader’s body submitted the memorandum and a Traders Charter to Modi urging for his intervention to stop the deal as it violates FDI Policy Press Note Number 3 of 2016 of the government, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said in a statement.

It urged Modi to constitute a high-level committee under the chairmanship of a senior Union Minister and comprising officials and trade representatives to look into the matter.

On Friday around seven crore business establishments and more than 40,000 trade associations and federations across the nation participated in the one-day strike, the traders’ organisation said.

Traders across the country held “dharna”, demonstrations and protest marches and later submitted similar memorandum as given to the Prime Minister to their respective District Collectors, CAIT said.

The CAIT also regretted that retail trade has never been a priority although, after agriculture, it is the largest employment provider and the largest source of revenue for the government.

“Such a stepmotherly treatment to the traders must come to an end,” the statement said.

On August 28, the Confederation had approached the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against the Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s approval for the Walmart-Flipkart deal.

Consequently, NCLAT issued a notice to Walmart, enquiring about its business model.

In August, Walmart Inc acquired approximately 77 per cent stake in e-commerce major Flipkart.

Walmart now holds approximately 77 per cent of Flipkart, while the remainder of the business is owned by other shareholders, including Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Tencent, Tiger Global and Microsoft Corp.

The global retail giant’s investment includes $2 billion of new equity funding to help accelerate the growth of Flipkart’s business. Both companies will retain their unique brands and operating structures in India, the statement said.