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Probing Amazon, Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law: ED

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi : Investigation has been initiated against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday informed the Delhi High Court.


A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani noted the submissions of the ED that a case has been registered under provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against the two companies and disposed of a PIL which has alleged that the e-commerce giants were violating foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.


The court had earlier sought response of the central government, Amazon and Flipkart to the plea which has sought a probe into the alleged FDI violations.

 


The ED, in its reply filed through central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, has said the “department has already registered and initiated investigation under the provisions of FEMA against the two companies to ascertain whether they have been contravening any provisions of FEMA or contravening any rule, regulations, notification, direction or order issued in exercise of the powers under FEMA….”
The agency also sought dismissal of the petition.


The petition by an NGO, Telecom Watchdog, also asked for initiation of legal proceedings against the two e-commerce companies under the FEMA for alleged violation and circumvention of FDI norms.


The plea, filed through advocate Pranav Sachdeva, has claimed that Amazon and Flipkart have created multiple entities to circumvent the FDI norms and route the hot-selling stock at cheaper rates.


The petition has contended that according to Press Note 3 of 2016, which regulates FDI in e-commerce, entities like Amazon and Flipkart are not to exercise ownership over stock, nor directly or indirectly influence price of goods and services sold on their marketplace.


It claimed that by creating name lending companies, Amazon and Flipkart buy branded goods in bulk at discounts from manufacturers and render small sellers uncompetitive by a wide margin, thus influencing the prices in violation of the FDI norms.


“As a consequence of this FDI norms violation, smaller sellers are unable to participate in the fast growing e-commerce sector,” the plea has contended, adding that due to subsidised prices on such platforms, small sellers are unable to sell in the brick-n-mortar world too.


Besides, the plea has also claimed that the two e-commerce firms have created several other group companies in the chain to divide discounts and losses.


“Exchange offers, EMI costs and bank offers are funded completely or substantially by Amazon and Flipkart and constitute a clear influence on price in violation of FDI norms,” it has alleged.


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India’s trade deficit narrows by 7.98% to $15.28 billion in June, exports falls by 9.71%

Agencies

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New Delhi: India’s trade deficit for June 2019 narrowed by 7.98 percent to USD 15.28 billion as against the deficit of USD 16.60 billion in June 2018, government data showed.

The country’s exports registered a negative growth of 9.71 percent during June 2019 to USD 25.01 billion as compared to USD 27.70 billion in June 2018. Non-POL exports for June 2019 declined by 5.73 percent; non-POL and non-gems and jewelry exports declined by 4.86 percent.

India’s imports in June 2019 too fell 9.06 percent to USD 40.29 billion in June 2019 as compared to USD 44.30 billion in June 2018, data further showed.

 

The major commodities which contributed towards decline exports in June 2019 have been Petroleum products (-32.85 percent), Rice (-28.05 percent), Cotton yarn/Fabrics/made-ups (-19.73 percent), Gems and Jewellery (-10.67 percent), Readymade garments (-9.18 percent), Organic & inorganic chemicals (-8.17 percent), and Engineering goods (-2.65 percent), data showed.

Import of petroleum crude & products in June 2019 (USD 11.03billion) has recorded a negative growth of 13.33 percent as compared to June 2018 (USD 12.73billion). In this connection it is mentioned that the global Brent price ($/bbl) has decreased by 15.81 percent in June 2019 vis-à-vis June 2018 as per data available from World Bank, official data said.

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It will take 2-3 days for scheduling to use Pakistani airspace: AI

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New Delhi: Hours after the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority ordered its airspace to be opened to all civilian traffic for flights between India and Pakistan, Air India official said that it will take 2 to 3 days for scheduling to use Pakistani airspace.

Indian airlines resumed flight operations over the Pakistan airspace, after the latter removed access restrictions, following Balakot airstrikes by the Indian Air Force in February. Air India was saddled with heavy financial losses following this.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation wrote on Twitter, “After cancellation of NOTAMS by Pakistan and India in the early hours of Tuesday, there are no restrictions on airspaces of both countries, flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines”.

 

In March, Pakistan partially opened its airspace but did not allow Indian flight to fly over its airspace.

Since then, foreign carriers had been using Indian airspace have been forced to take costly detours because they cannot fly over Pakistan. The closure mainly affects flights from Europe to Southeast Asia.

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RBI slaps Rs 7 cr penalty on SBI for violating various norms

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Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India said it has slapped a penalty of Rs 7 crore on the country’s largest bank SBI for non-compliance with norms related to NPA identification and fraud risk management, among others.

The penalty has been imposed on the bank for non-compliance of income recognition and asset classification (IRAC) norms, code of conduct for opening and operating current accounts and reporting of data on Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC), and fraud risk management and classification and reporting of frauds.

Giving details of the case, it said the statutory inspection of SBI with reference to its financial position as on March 31, 2017, revealed, non-compliance with IRAC norms, sharing of information about customers with other banks, reporting of data on CRILC, fraud risk management, and classification and reporting of frauds.

 

Based on the inspection report and other relevant documents, a notice was issued to the bank advising it to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed on it for non-compliance with directions issued by the RBI.

“After considering the bank’s reply and oral submissions made in the personal hearing, RBI came to the conclusion that the aforesaid charges of non-compliance with RBI directions were substantiated and warranted imposition of monetary penalty,” the RBI said.

The penalty, RBI said, is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.

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