Companies & Sectors
Sitharaman meets stakeholders on FDI in e-commerce

Sitharaman said she is also considering meetings with some state governments on the matter

 

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday held consultations on foreign direct investment policy in e-commerce with stakeholders, including e-retailers Flipkart and Snapdeal and industry associations, especially whether FDI should be allowed in the business-to-consumer (B2C) category.
 
"It was the first meeting. We are not taking any position this way or that way from the ministry. We have heard everybody on whether they need or do not need FDI, and whether it will affect the level playing field," Sitharaman told reporters here.
 
"In fact, this is not going to be sufficient. I need more meetings with everyone, individual operators and associations," she added.
 
Sithraman said she is also considering meetings with some state governments on the matter.
 
"I may have meetings with state governments also to understand how they have taken a position because it is important for me to know in each of these cases what is the issue," she said.
 
India currently allows 100 percent FDI in business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, but not in B2C companies selling directly to consumers.
 
Sitharaman said stakeholders raised issues related to taxation, definition and inclusion of e-commerce within the framework of the domestic trade policy.
 
Representatives from industry organisations CII, FICCI, Nasscom, the Confederation of All India Traders, and companies such as eBay, Snapdeal, Decathlon, H&M, and Ikea attended the meeting.
 
"CII is of the view that e-commerce in India is at relatively nascent stage and the market is yet to attain full maturity level," the industry chamber said in a statement here after the meeting.
 
"While CII is favourably inclined towards 100 percent FDI in B2C route, the sector should be given some time to come to a level where it can compete globally," it added.

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MMRDA spending Rs76 lakh a month on Mono Rail security
MMRDA paid Rs75.96 lakh to Maharashtra State Security Corp as charges for security at its seven stations, depots as well as the Mono Rails, reveals an RTI reply received by activist Anil Galgali
 
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is spending about Rs76 lakh every month towards the security of Mono Rail, its seven stations and depots, reveals a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. There are average 14,282 commuters, who daily use Mono Rail services.
 
According to a reply received by RTI activist Anil Galgali, the MMRDA paid Rs75.96 lakh to Maharashtra State Security Corp as charges for security at its seven stations, depots as well as the Mono Rails. 
 
Galgali, in a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, requested for relaxation on the security expense collected by the government. "This will lighten the burden of MMRDA and in a way can make Mono Rail project a bit viable. It is a public transport now. It would be easier for the MMRDA if the government stops collecting these huge amounts per month just for providing security to stations and depots. I have also requested the CM in my letter to stop the overflow of people sent in by the Government for this specific purpose as security should be provided only as per the requirements," the RTI activist said.
 
In another query, the MMRDA said during February 2014 to March 2015, the Mono Rail was used by nearly 60 lakh commuters, generating revenues of Rs4.89 crore from ticket sales. One round trip costs MMRDA a sum of Rs3,131 per trip and not more than 131 trips are done daily between Chembur and Wadala Depot. The second portion of the remaining work on Mono Rail between Wadala Depot and Jacob Circle is 81% complete and will be ready by December 2015. 
 
MMRDA was the system administrator for the monorail project, while Larsen and Toubro (L&T) along with Malaysian Scomi Engineering BHD were awarded the contract to build and operate the Mono Rail until 2029.

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NGO worker among four Indians killed in Kabul

Established in 1982, PRIA is an international centre for learning and promotion of citizen participation and democratic governance

 

Fifty-six-year-old Martha Farrell was to return to India from Afghanistan on Saturday but she died in an attack on a Kabul guesthouse in which four Indians were killed.
 
"She was the spokesperson for a training programme conducted by the Aga Khan Trust. She was in Afghanistan from May 9 and was to come back on May 16," an official from Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) told IANS.
 
Established in 1982, PRIA is an international centre for learning and promotion of citizen participation and democratic governance. 
 
It offers professional expertise and practical insights which are utilised by other civil society groups, NGOs, governments, donors, trade unions, private business and academic institutions.
 
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Park Palace guesthouse in Kabul on Wednesday night.
 

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