No. 65, January 2017

No. 65
(January 2017):

Behind the Hype of E-commerce

II. Regulatory Issues and E-commerce in India

Though the aspect of regulation hardly creates the sort of hype that valuations or cheap merchandise and rides do, from time to time we do hear about the regulatory strictures involving e-commerce entities by state agencies as well as the courts. Often this is not so much because of the vigilance of the regulatory authorities but contradictions with other constituencies, for instance the threat that e-retail poses to organised retail and even smaller physical retail units. The most fascinating aspect of this is the continuing debate regarding framing and defining the e-commerce services for applying the relevant regulations and laws.

For instance, while Flipkart, Amazon and other retailers have grown to a massive size and have been in existence now for years together (Flipkart is nine years old and has 35,000 employees on its rolls), the debate goes on regarding whether they are a ‘marketplace’ or a ‘retailer’. While the e-commerce entities claim that they are only marketplaces, a platform that brings potential buyers and sellers together at one place through technology (like a marketplace physically does), critics, that is competitors, various state agencies, and independent observers, object to this formulation. The basic disagreement is that these e-retailers have made massive investments in physical facilities such as warehouses and logistics to source and deliver the merchandise, and hence to say that they are nothing more than mere software is highly problematic. Amazon has 21 operational warehouses with more than 5 million cubic feet of storage space across India in cities like Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur, Gurgaon, Pune, Ludhiana etc.38

These warehouses are known as ‘fulfilment centres’ (FCs); the word play itself (‘fulfilment centres’) is pretty interesting and is likely to have been invented to provide an escape route to the enforcement authorities.  Flipkart has 17 warehouses in the country,39 while Snapdeal has 55.40 A glimpse of one of these FCs can be seen in a recent report by IBNLive (“Watch how your online purchased product reaches your doorstep” - In these FCs, sellers store their products, while inventory management, packing and delivery to the buyer is done by the e-retail company. Late last year Flipkart was reported to have plans of investing $2 billion in logistics and $500 million for setting up 80 to 100 warehouses across India. Flipkart's largest fulfilment centre in Hyderabad is spread across 2.2 lakh square feet (that means 4 football fields put together!), with a storage capacity of 5.89 lakh cubic feet. The automated ‘state-of-the-art’ fulfilment centre is expected to ship out 1.2 lakh items every day.

One immediate reason why e-retailers are keen to be seen as a marketplace and not a retailer is that if they are considered the latter then they become liable for taxes like other retailers. For instance, Amazon ran into trouble in Karnataka as the tax authorities issued notice to around 50 sellers on its platform. The authorities’ question was: how could all of them be storing their wares at the same centre? And if they were, then Amazon was adding value to the entire selling process and hence was liable to pay value added tax (VAT).41 Another point put forward by the tax authorities was that Amazon must take responsibility if a merchant defaulted in paying VAT on transactions executed on its website. This implied that the Karnataka VAT authorities were treating Amazon as a commission agent.42

On very predictable lines, as soon as authorities in one state try to bring in a semblance of accountability to the corporates, they move (or threaten to move) to another state – this is what the game of ‘ease of doing business’ is all about. Both Flipkart and Amazon moved their warehouses from Bengaluru to Hyderabad after the Karnataka government proposed to levy a one percent tax on an e-commerce transaction in the form of VAT (which is to be deducted at source).

While e-commerce units expect full support from the State authorities under ‘ease of doing business’ and programmes like Startup India, they are very clear that botherations such as taxes need to be done away with or can be simply wished away. As Amazon India head Amit Agrawal said in 2013,43 “The beauty is that our offering, as you read on the site, would allow a seller to be completely egregious (sic) about the complexity of moving products across states, taxation, CST, VAT, Octroi, because we have managed to hide that complexity for them.” The story in the US is not very different. Since Amazon opened its website in 1994, the e-tailer has avoided paying local sales tax in states where it did not have a physical presence, such as a warehouse. But now many states are demanding that Amazon collect sales tax on its products. Although Amazon has tried to fight this in the courts, it has had no victories. The Senate has already passed a bill requiring that online retailers collect sales tax, but the House version of the bill has thus far failed to make headway.44

Perhaps there is an even weightier reason than tax claims for e-retailers to deny that they are retailers. That reason is the FDI policy that prevailed in India till March 2016. The regulatory status of foreign investments in e-commerce was as follows:

  • 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) allowed under the automatic route (i.e. no Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval required) in companies engaged in B2B e-commerce (that is business to business, say between a wholesaler and a retailer, not involving final customers like me and you).
  • No FDI allowed in companies which engage in single brand retail trading by means of e-commerce.
  • No FDI allowed in companies which engage in multi-brand retail trading by means of e-commerce.45 Prima facie the likes of Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal fall in this category.

The problem is that a company registered as a commission agent would indirectly become a seller, which would be in violation of the FDI policy as above. And this is what is happening at many places across the country in terms of the interpretation of the policy. The Delhi High Court in November2015 ordered the Government to investigate 21 e-commerce operators for possible violations of FDI laws.46 Two months earlier the court observed that there has been “a prima facie violation” of foreign investment regulations by e-commerce companies, while sending notice to the Central Government on a petition filed by footwear retailers.47 The complainants argued that e-commerce marketplaces are retailers because they accept payments, make deliveries, accept returns, and make refunds. “Merely there being a physical retailer behind the transaction does not convert the transaction into a B2C model having no e-commerce element”. Their lawyer added that tax authorities in various states have treated these transactions as sales and have accordingly issued demand notices. He also put across the example of a US Supreme Court ruling that e-commerce transactions are retail sales and accordingly taxable at the state level. Similar cases have been filed by organised retailers like Future (owners of Big Bazar), Shoppers’ Stop, Reliance, and by mobile retailers.

In response the e-commerce companies have devised complex corporate structures to circumvent the law. One of the more common methods has been the ‘two-company route’. For instance, in’s case, the foreign-funded firm (Jade eServices) carries the entire inventory on its books as an entity in B2B wholesale operations where 100 percent FDI is allowed. But it cannot legally sell directly to the consumer. For that, it needs B2C entity Xerion. The B2C company acts as a ‘front’ for the B2B firm and in most cases is publicly portrayed as a packaging and logistics entity. Some other examples of this two-company format are:

  • Flipkart: Flipkart Online Services (B2B entity), WS Retail (B2C entity)
  • Snapdeal: Jasper Infotech (B2B entity), Spinel Tradecom (B2C entity)
Jabong: Jade e-services (B2B entity), Xerion Retail (B2C entity).48

Singapore-registered Flipkart has devised a complicated maze of many inter-connected and some purportedly independent entities that raise massive amounts of money to build an integrated e-commerce business (see Figure4). Flipkart India is the wholesale cash-and-carry entity, while Flipkart Internet is the marketplace arm which books commissions on each sale. Flipkart sources goods from manufacturers, sells those goods to WS Retail Pvt. Ltd, a company with which it is closely linked (more on this follows), which in turn sells it to shoppers. Flipkart also has around 85,000 third-party sellers. The company provides the technology platform and logistics services and takes a commission on every sale on its site.49 The change to a formal marketplace model by e-commerce portals has mostly come about after the Government clarified in 2012 that it would not allow FDI in any consumer facing retail businesses transacted over the internet.50

Fig 4
Figure 451: The complex corporate structure of Flipkart

Fundamentally, the reason for choosing such structures boils down to exercising tight control. Each big e-retail firm is actually not only a retailer in every sense of the word, but a very active retailer at that, one which decides everything from pricing to delivery to return policy. And they can have the kind of leash that they need on the selling process only if they control very tightly each of the critical decisions. It is simply impossible to run such a tight ship through an actual marketplace model with only third party sellers.

Flipkart is perhaps the most interesting example of this and WS Retail is one of the most important entities in this structure. To get around FDI rules, Flipkart created WS Retail in 2009 as a seller on its site. As part of a complex arrangement, WS Retail bought goods from Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd, the B2B (business-to-business) arm of the main group holding company, and sold the same goods to customers on Flipkart’s site. WS Retail also owned and ran Flipkart’s key logistics business called ‘e-kart’ that delivered products to customers. (E-kart has been recently bought back by Flipkart.)

WS Retail (WSR) was owned by Flipkart co-founders until September 2012. The founders of Flipkart, the two Bansals and two of their relatives, were also board members at WSR. In September 2012, Flipkart was forced to sell a large stake in WS Retail to former OnMobile Global chief operating officer Rajeev Kuchhal, just weeks before Indian regulatory agencies launched an investigation into the company’s business relationship with WSR; both the Bansals and their relatives gave up their board seats too. Tapas Rudrapatna and Sujeet Kumar, who were employed by Flipkart at least until September 2012, controlled 46 per cent of WS Retail, documents with the Registrar of Companies showed. When Businessworld visited WSR’s stated headquarters in Bangalore to meet its supposed director Tapas Rudrapatna, they found a “small, sleepy house” and were then directed to a Flipkart office a few kilometres away. There, a Human Resources representative said that Rudrapatna worked for Flipkart. Further, 50 percent of WSR was held by B.K. Bansal, Sachin Bansal’s uncle, who told Businessworld that he knew very little about the business and that everything was handled by Sachin.52 WSR reportedly accounted for close to 85 per cent of Flipkart’s business and sold a range of products, from shoes to home appliances and electronics. Its turnover tripled in 2014-15 over the previous year, crossing Rs 10,000 crore. It is reported that WSR features as the first seller on most Flipkart products, and according to the public relations manager of the company, this ranking was based on the “number of ratings and feedback, and number of successful deliveries.”53

Cloudtail, a 49:51 joint venture between Amazon Asia and Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy's personal investment vehicle Catamaran, has become the largest seller on Amazon India. It is being headed by Madhu M., a former Amazon India executive. One of the ways Cloudtail has become a bigger player is through its ability to offer additional discounts on goods sold. “So, for example, footwear and fashion merchandise sold through Cloudtail on Amazon India comes with more discounts than the same products sold by other sellers on the site. The sellers sell their goods through Cloudtail as it helps their sales because in any case the discounts get compensated by the company (Amazon),” said an executive, requesting not to be named.54 Cloudtail is now the key growth driver for Amazon India, generating as much as 40 per cent of the company’s sales in some months. It is particularly dominant in electronics and fashion sales, two of the three largest categories for Amazon India,55 and is reported to have done sales worth Rs 1,145 crore in 2014-15.

Once the bulk of the sales are lined up through a dominant seller, it becomes simpler for Flipkart or Amazon to dictate policies to other sellers as well. For instance after comparing prices with other sites, Amazon recommends the amount of discounts to its sellers on products, but doesn’t force them to adopt these suggested prices. Sellers, however, end up honouring these suggested prices because Amazon finances the discounts.

At the end of a certain period, sellers send a debit note to Amazon titled “promotional funding” and this note contains the amount of discount that the seller gave on the merchandise sold on the site. Amazon then pays the seller by cheque and in some cases, also gives additional money as the seller’s margin. This debit note is over and above what Amazon collects from customer. The debit note also includes service tax that the seller collects from Amazon on the amount of the discounts. The seller then pays the service tax to the Central Government. In effect, the amount of discounts is currently being treated under Central service tax laws rather than state tax laws.

During Flipkart’s ‘Big Billion Day sale’, many of the sellers apart from WS Retail were simply promised a certain amount and discounts were almost entirely funded by Flipkart. Sellers were paid through bank transfer by Flipkart, according to the reports. Similarly, during Snapdeal’s ‘Buy One, Get One’ promotional offer, sellers were paid for both products by Snapdeal, which charged its commission fee only on one item.56 Many discerning industry observers corroborate the above proposition. For instance, Anindya Ghose, professor of  IT and marketing at New York University's Stern School of Business, commented, “The big benefit (of having one dominant seller) is that it enables them to fund discounts and dictate pricing policies in a very clever way”. “They (Flipkart et al.) can suggest the discount amounts to the sellers and in fact compensate the sellers for the actual discounts given, either directly (via debit notes) or indirectly (by waiving listing fees or commissions)”, he further added.57

Given so much skirting of policy and regulations, it is little wonder that the legal expenses of Amazon last year were as high as Rs 221 crores.58 Yet at the same time, the standard response of the industry is bordering on imperial: ‘outdated laws, will dampen investor sentiment’. And they are not wrong, in the sense that the State is willing to bend over more than backwards to show that the industry is right and prove itself wrong! Instead of trying to really take the corporates to task for blatant violation of regulations, the Government actually decided to make some of the violations ‘legal’ this year. In March 2016, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced policy changes in the e-commerce sector.59 The Government finally allowed 100 per cent FDI at least in ‘marketplace’ model, though it added that it was not permitted for ‘inventory-led’ model. Though what Flipkart or Amazon has been doing is still illegal, they now have a fig leaf to claim compliance! But the State needs to do a balancing act among different corporate interests, and in a clear pandering to the organised retailers, it brought some further riders:

  • A single vendor would not be allowed to do more than 25 per cent of business with an e-commerce entity;
  • Clear-cut information about the sellers was to be provided on the website. Delivery of goods and “customer satisfaction will be responsibility of the seller”;even further,
  • Marketplace e-commerce will not “directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services”.


It is obvious that e-retail simply cannot function, given its present practice, even if these new guidelines are broadly enforced. There is likely to be business as usual and some further window dressing on the part of e-commerce entities, or may be more e-commerce friendly policies at some future point of time. (That this is no ‘conspiracy theory’ can be seen from reports60 on the recent meeting between Amazon CEO and Prime Minister Modi during latter’s visit to the US, where the former is reported to have asked Modi to permit FDI in the inventory-led model.) One of the most important points of the new policy is that ‘e-commerce entities will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services’. As we have seen earlier, discounts/predatory pricing is one of the main reasons for e-commerce’s ‘success’, and not being able to dictate prices will simply mean total collapse of their business model! Not surprisingly, the New York Times recently commented61 “Analysts and internet executives in India say they do not expect an immediate government crackdown on Amazon and others, and it is not yet clear what the consequences would be for breaking the new rules.”It further reported ‘business as usual’ at Amazon: a mega mobile sale at March-end and a ‘spring sale’ for electronic products with discounts ranging from 25 to 80 per cent across sellers (including Cloudtail) in early April. We have also witnessed a ‘discounting war’ between Flipkart and Amazon this festival season and their gross GMV is supposed to have crossed $1billion just in the few sale days.62

Persistent Regulatory Issues with the Taxi Aggregators
In a country with large and very populous urban centres having practically nonexistent or very meagre public transport systems, as is the case in India, taxi services become a necessity not only for the middle classes but often even for the lower classes, especially in times of contingencies. Hence the need for tight State regulations about the safety, availability and pricing as well as the working conditions of the service providers. But taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola claim that they are mere ‘technological platform’ on your smartphones, simply ‘aggregators’ of those who want to provide the service and those who want to avail of it through the means of a software application and hence not liable to any kind of checks. Whether the services of the taxi aggregators can be brought within the purview of regulation is one debate which has been raging through various tiers of Governments and courts of law across the globe as their services are spreading thick and fast.

Only in May 2016, Karnataka directed63 taxi aggregators such as Uber and Ola to stop operations in the state until they secured a licence from the Government, in order that they register with local transport authorities and comply with the fares fixed by them. The move came only days after hundreds of drivers affiliated to these taxi aggregators took to the streets to protest against what they called ‘harassment’ by transport authorities. The latter had cracked down on the grounds that these taxis had not followed the new norms announced in April. The transport department has filed around 300 cases against drivers for not complying with the rules, and the drivers have been caught in the crossfire between the State and these aggregators. Uber and Ola had also to suspend their bike taxi services after the Karnataka government said that the transport rules did not have provision for two-wheelers to be used as taxis. The state has been the first in the country to mandate a license for app-based aggregators to operate cabs. Uber has in turn called the state rules “unconstitutional and without legislative backing.”64

Maharashtra similarly has come out with draft rules mandating digital meters, an end to surge pricing and registration with local transport authorities. Delhi too had banned surge pricing during the two-week ‘odd-even’ experiment in April, which was aimed at decongesting traffic on Delhi roads. In claiming to be implementing the law of ‘supply and demand’ and being closest to the idea of Smithian markets, Uber/Ola use automated algorithms to increase prices to ‘surge’ price levels, responding rapidly to changes of supply and demand in the market, to attract more drivers during times of increased rider demand, as well as to reduce demand. Customers supposedly receive notice when making an Uber reservation that prices have increased.

Such surge pricing can happen at any time for a customer – due to inclement weather or natural disasters like in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York City. During New Year's Eve 2011 in San Francisco, prices were as high as seven times normal rates. During the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis, Uber implemented surge pricing, resulting in fares of up to four times normal charges.65

Uber fares had shot up by up to three times when the Delhi Government introduced the odd-even car plan in January. Surge pricing has evoked outrage from commuters, including in India, where there have been online petitions against it. In August this year the Delhi High Court ordered that the Government has the right to decide a ceiling for online taxi rates.

Taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers across major Indian cities from Delhi to Mumbai and Bengaluru to Kochi are protesting against what they say is a threat to their livelihoods from cab aggregators. In July this year, an estimated 90,000 auto-rickshaws and 15,000 traditional yellow top taxis stopped work in Delhi demanding appropriate regulations for app-based services.66

We can find a similar debate regarding taxi aggregators across the globe. In May 2014 the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association in London contended67 that private drivers were not legally allowed to have taxi meters in their cars, and hence Uber drivers were not doing the right thing by calculating fares through smartphones. In January 2014, taxi drivers in Paris attacked Uber vehicles, shattering windows and flattening tires along the way. Parisian taxi drivers were upset because private car services did not have to pay almost $300,000 for a taxi permit to operate in the French capital.

To alleviate some of the ‘regulatory disadvantages’ of the traditional taxi services in France a ‘15-minute law’ went into effect that required drivers for Uber and other cab-hailing apps to wait 15 minutes after a request is placed to pick up a passenger. The Uber app and its drivers were banned in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and the company was dealing with a lawsuit in Berlin, Germany, after the Berlin Taxi Association filed a complaint stating Uber's drivers did not comply with licensing laws there. Besides, Uber has pulled out of three German cities—Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, and Hamburg. Similarly, in September 2015, Brazil’s largest and richest cities, São Paulo and Rio De Janeiro, voted to ban app-based taxi services like Uber that critics said unfairly dodge local regulations.68 A federal judge in Chicago recently commented69 that differing rules for taxis and ride-share companies "appear utterly arbitrary". As we can see in the Figure 5, Uber’s regulatory problems are spread far and wide across the globe and perhaps their global legal problems are one of the key reasons why they are losing money.

Fig 5
Figure 570

Licensing, taxing and pricing are only part of the problem for the regulators. A more difficult issue that they face vis-a-vis taxi aggregators is the safety of commuters, given that they are providing services on some of the busiest of urban centres. Users, regulators and critics have raised issues with regard to the skill and experience of Uber/Ola drivers as well as their past given that it involves not only a highly skilled job of professional driving but also a personalised service to a rider. Critics have complained that practically anybody can become an Uber driver as long as s/he has an access to a vehicle.

One of the most glaring examples of this has been the December 2014 rape case in Delhi by an Uber driver of a young woman who had hailed a cab through her smartphone. Once the rider had dozed off she was driven to a desolate location where she was first molested and then threatened with an iron rod reminiscent of the Nirbhaya rape case two years earlier. And the driver of the car made a relatively easy getaway – all he needed to do was simply switch off the phone that contained the app, rendering him untraceable. In the aftermath of the incident, most shockingly, investigating authorities discovered that Uber practically had done no background check of the driver or monitoring of the detour that the vehicle had taken through their famed ‘technology’. They did not have proper address of the driver nor any kind of record of his criminal past (apparently he was involved in rape cases earlier too). This particular driver did not have a commercial badge required to drive a cab in Delhi even though he had been driving for Uber for more than six months.71

What followed in terms of Uber’s response was even more revealing. Although Eric Alexander, Head of Business for Uber Asia deposed in the case in Delhi about the route taken by the driver, booking details, etc., which may suggest to any reasonable person that the taxi operator was the intermediary if not the employer for the accused, yet the plaintiffs’ case in US against the company had to be withdrawn as Uber argued that the concerned driver had a contract with Netherlands-based Uber HBV and not Uber Technologies (US)!72 To bring some check against such practices authorities in June 2015 ruled that any private individual in Lausanne, Switzerland, who wished to sign up for the car-hailing service as an Uber driver must meet the same employment entry requirements as a traditional taxi driver, obtain a professional  taxi license and a driver’s card, and have a validated vehicle. They contended that these requirements were aimed at guaranteeing the safety of passengers by allowing them to properly identify drivers, check their driving ability and knowledge of the city, and know the state of their vehicle.73

Governments have been largely unable to check Uber in their jurisdictions because its operations are conducted primarily over the internet. In addition, Uber is said to use extremely aggressive tactics such as bullying and hiring investigators to "dig up dirt" on those who criticise them (more on this below). Portland, Oregon's transportation commissioner called Uber management “a bunch of thugs”. A commissioner in Virginia who opposed Uber was flooded with emails and calls after Uber distributed his personal contact information to all of its users in the state.74 Similarly in Mumbai, in October 2015, Uber ran an online email campaign, asking users to protest against government attempts at regulation.

And finally, if nothing else works, the authorities can always be termed anti-modernity, technology and innovation. One of the former members of the Infosys board, now a venture capitalist, TV Mohandas Pai, had this to say against Karnataka government’s recent feeble attempt at regulating taxi aggregators: “If they have made some new rules for taxi aggregation, and the rules are reasonable without putting liabilities, it is fine. But they must not stop the business. Stopping the business means Bengaluru earning a bad name globally. The Siddaramaiah government will be seen as anti-innovation and anti-technology”.75 And when taxi drivers protested in Paris, Uber commented, “The only thing these companies care for is maintaining the old, blocking the new, preventing more people from having more choice, failing consumers and their own drivers."76




38. “Amazon opens seven new fulfilment centres in India”, Business Standard, 9/9/2015, accessed on 11/06/2016. (back)

39. Shweta Modgil, “Flipkart To Pump Over $2 Bn in its Logistics Network, Opens Largest Warehouse in Telangana”, 2/11/2015, accessed on 11/06/2016. (back)

40. “To attract sellers, Snapdeal to open fulfilment centres in 15 more cities”, Indian Express, 21/8/2014, accessed on 11/06/2016. (back)

41. “Taxman questions Amazon India’s fulfilment centre”, ET, 16/9/2014, accessed on 11/06/2016. (back)

42. Shweta Singh, “Amazon rejects Karnataka tax department’s solution to end tax battle”,23/6/2015,, accessed on 11/06/2016. (back)

43.“We Have A Lot Of Patience, And A Very, Very Long Term Outlook” – Amazon India’s Amit Agarwal, Nikhil Pahwa, June 25 2013, accessed on 12/06/2016. (back)

44. “Amazon: Nearly 20 Years in Business...” op. cit. (back)

45. Nishith Desai Associates, “E-Commerce in India: Legal, Tax and Regulatory Analysis”, July 2015,, accessed on 12/06/2016. (back)

46. Priyanka Mittal and Shrutika Verma, “Probe e-commerce firms for FDI law violations: Delhi HC to govt”, Live Mint, 20/11/2016,, accessed on 12/06/2016. (back)

47. Varun Jain, “Delhi High Court sees violation of FDI norms by e-commerce companies,” Economic Times, 24/9/2015,, accessed on 12/06/2016. (back)

48. Amit Yadav, “About B2B and B2C Marketing”, 11/11/2014,, accessed on 12/06/2016. (back)

49. “Flipkart reports a loss of Rs2,000 crore in FY15”, Live Mint, 3/12/2015,, accessed on 12/06/2016. (back)

50. Biswarup Gooptu, “Online retailers shed inventory in favour of marketplace model”, Economic Times, 9/10/2013,, accessed on 12/06/2016. (back)

51 Shrutika Verma & Mihir Dalal, “Inside Flipkart’s complex structure”, Live Mint, 25/11/2014,, accessed on 12/06/2016. (back)

52. Adam B. Lerner, “How Flipkart Dodged India’s E-Commerce Laws” Caravan, 23/6/2014,, accessed on 13/06/2016. (back)

53. “Inside Flipkart’s complex structure”, op. cit. (back)

54. Varun Sood, “Sellers like Cloudtail and WS Retail on Amazon, Flipkart scaling up to grab top slots” Economic Times, 13/1/2015,, accessed on 14/06/2016. (back)

55. Mihir Dalal and Shrutika Verma, “Amazon’s JV Cloudtail is its biggest seller in India,” Live Mint, 29/10/2015,, accessed on 14/06/2016. (back)

56. Mihir Dalal and Shrutika Verma, “How Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal fund discounts”, 23/10/2014,, accessed on 14/06/2016. (back)

57. “Sellers like Cloudtail...”op. cit. (back)

58. “Amazon’s net loss...” op. cit. (back)

59. Guidelines for FDI on ecommerce, GOI Ministry of Commerce and Industry, DPIP FC section Press note 3 2016,, accessed on 14/06/2016. (back)

60. Chaitali Chakravarty and Rasul Bailay,  ”Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants PM Narendra Modi to let online marketplace have inventories too”, Economic Times, 13/6/2016,, accessed on 15/06/2016. (back)

61. Nick Wingfield and Vindu Goel, “Amazon May Violate India’s New Rules on Foreign E-Commerce”, New York Times, 7/4/2016,, accessed on 15/06/2016. (back)

62. “E-commerce sales to touch Rs 11,000-13,000 cr in Oct: RedSeer”, Business Today, 6/10/2016, accessed on 10/10/2016. (back)

63. Raghu Krishnan and Bibhu Ranjan Mishra, “Karnataka to Uber, Ola: Get licence or go off roads”, Business Standard, 30/5/2016,, accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)

64. Alnoor Peermohamed, “Uber blinks, to comply with Karnataka rules for app-based taxi aggregators”, Business Standard 8/6/2016,, accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)

65., accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)

66. Dhanya Skariachan, “Uber, Ola face increased resistance from traditional transport”, Live Mint,28/7/2016,, accessed on 11/08/2016 (back)

67. Colin Daileda, “UK Cabbies Are Mad at Uber and They're Not Going to Take It Anymore”, 9/5/2014, accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)

68. Cedar Attanasio, “Uber Taxi Service Banned In São Paulo, Rio De Janeiro Pending Mayoral Approval”, Latin Times, 11/9/2015,, accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)

69. Hal Dardick, “Judge at loss for way to remedy taxi, Uber disparity”, Chicago Tribune, 3/5/2016,, accessed on 19/06/2016. (back)

70., accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)

71. Indrani Basu & Anirvan Ghosh, “Delhi Uber Rape Case Reveals Shocking Gaps--Driver Didn't Have Permit For Cabs”, Huffington Post, 12/7/2014,, accessed on 11/08/2016. (back)

72. Dominic Rushe, “Alleged rape victim's lawyer accuses Uber of deflecting responsibility,” Guardian, 7/4/2015,, accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)

73. Simon Bradley, “Lausanne tries to put brakes on Uber taxi service”, accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)

74. Uber (Company) accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)

75. “Karnataka to Uber, Ola...” op. cit. (back)

76. Mark Scott, “Uber Faces Rebukes in Europe”, NYT, Apr 17 2014, accessed on 18/06/2016. (back)


NEXT: III. Employment Practces of the E-commerce Industry


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