Amazon India's country head Amit Agarwal has called for a stable and a predictable policy framework that may attract long-term investments in India. With an increasing number of small businesses and shops embracing technology and going online to reinvent themselves in the post-COVID world, Agarwal says "removing paper cuts" would further help in the ease of doing business. Speaking at the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020, he pointed out that India's large young population needs to be prepared for the world ahead. "Enabling universal internet access and digital literacy, focusing on science and engineering and embracing Machine Learning and AI would help drive transformation at scale."
With almost 1 lakh direct employees including tens of thousands working in the tech teams, Agarwal says that Indian talent penetrates almost all part of Amazon's global offerings. Amazon India today has nearly 700,000 sellers, mostly SMBs, offering millions of products. While India's e-commerce today stands barely at 3 per cent of total retail consumption, e-commerce is blurring the lines between online and offline and local and global. "Businesses will no longer have to choose - they can seamlessly complement in-store services with doorstep convenience for customers in their locality, and dream beyond to reach customers across India, even globally," he says.
Although COVID-19 has brought with it many challenges, the global pandemic has also increased the reliance on technology not only by businesses but also by the end consumers. "We realise, and are humbled, they are relying on us more than ever before. We take this responsibility very seriously," says Agarwal, adding that Amazon India has recently launched a service allowing local shops to establish a digital presence on Amazon to serve customers in their locality online.
While the Central government has been making frequent changes in the FDI policy, many Indian trade bodies have been making allegations against large foreign e-commerce companies to be violating norms and doing business. In order to streamline the sector, the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash said that the government is in the final stages of drafting a National Logistics Policy, a New Industrial Policy, E-commerce policy and a National Retail Trade policy.