E-commerce major Amazon on Wednesday said it will host ‘Small Business Days 2021’ from July 2-4, 2021, as part of efforts to enable sellers to bounce back from the economic disruption caused by COVID-19 and support the local economy. The event will see participation from lakhs of manufacturers, small brand owners, over 1,000 startups and brands from Launchpad, 6.8 lakh women entrepreneurs from Amazon Saheli, more than 12 lakh artisans and weavers from Amazon Karigar and over 50,000 neighbourhood stores from the Local Shops on Amazon programme, a statement said.
During the three-day sale event, customers will have the opportunity to discover and purchase as well as enjoy deals and offer on products across categories, including immunity boosters, monsoon essentials, at-home fitness supplies, regional handicrafts, etc. among many more from the special themed stores on the marketplace, it added. MSMEs are the backbone of our economy, contributing to nearly 30 per cent of the country’s GDP and half of its exports. Around six crore MSME units across the country employ over 11 crore persons. MSMEs contribute significantly to the socio-economic growth of the country by fostering entrepreneurship and generating large employment opportunities,” Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari was quoted as saying in the statement.
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Technology will play a key role in the success of MSMEs, and in increasing the contribution of MSMEs share to the country’s GDP, he added. “It is important to accelerate the growth of MSMEs especially after the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and I congratulate Amazon for hosting Small Business Day to help generate customer demand for their products and revive livelihoods of lakhs of MSMEs in the country, Gadkari said. Amazon India Director (MSME and Selling Partner Experience) Pranav Bhasin said as India tries to get back on track post the impact of the COVID-19 second wave, the company is prioritising its efforts to help small businesses bounce back from the economic disruption.
“Towards this, we are hosting Amazon Small Business Days, to help generate customer demand for offerings from small sellers on the Amazon India marketplace, thus helping them to get their business back on track, he added. The announcement of the sale came at a time when the Centre has proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 and sought public comments on banning flash sales and mis-selling of goods and services on e-commerce platforms as well as the appointment of chief compliance officer and resident grievance officer, among other provisions. To ensure that the domestic manufacturers and suppliers get fair and equal treatment on the e-commerce platform, it has been proposed that where an e-commerce entity offers imported goods or services, it shall incorporate a filter mechanism to identify goods based on country of origin and suggest alternatives.
Also, the government has also proposed a “Fall-back liability” for every marketplace e-commerce entity in order to ensure that consumers are not adversely affected in the event where a seller fails to deliver the goods or services due to negligent conduct by such seller in fulfilling the duties in the manner as prescribed by the marketplace e-commerce entity. The government has sought views and comments from stakeholders on these proposed amendments within 15 days (by July 6, 2021).
According to industry watchers, these could have a significant impact on online retailers, especially large players like Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon. Flipkart has not commented on the proposal. Amazon, in a statement, said it is reviewing the draft policy and it is too early to comment. Online marketplaces promote competition, enable transparency in terms of product offering, prices, delivery speed, returns etc.
Amazon.in is committed to building a customer-centric online marketplace by offering a vast selection and fast delivery while empowering Indian businesses, including small and medium-sized sellers to reach customers through our world-class e-commerce marketplace,” it added. E-commerce has seen strong growth in the country amid the pandemic as containment measures introduced millions to the convenience of online shopping, and prompted seasoned online shoppers to buy more. Social distancing compulsions, massive smartphone base and reliable broadband have galvanised e-commerce uptake beyond metros, deep into smaller cities and towns.