Moneycontrol
Jan 12, 2017 09:12 AM IST IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Amazon 'insults' national flag, draws flak from Sushma Swaraj

Swaraj's tweets came after a Twitter user pointed out the e-tailer selling doormats showing Indian tricolour. The minister also asked the Indian Embassy to take up the matter with Amazon Canada.


Moneycontrol Bureau

India’s Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has lambasted American e-commerce firm Amazon as it was found to be selling doormats depiciting Indian tricolour on its Canadian website.

She also sought an unconditional apology from the e-tailer. Failing to comply would mean no official of Amazon will be granted Indian visa and the ones issued earlier will also be rescinded, the minister said.

Swaraj's tweets came after a Twitter user pointed out the e-tailer selling doormats showing Indian tricolour.





The minister also asked the Indian Embassy to take up the matter with Amazon Canada.






Further, Swaraj also threatened to revoke visas of Amazon executives working in India.





This is the first time that any Union Minister has publicly rebuked an American online firm on Twitter.


According to India’s flag code of India 2002, the flag can not be used as a portion of a costume or a uniform of any description nor shall it be embroidered or printed upon cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins or any other dress material.The flag shall not be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or the trail in water.

Amazon Canada was yet to remove the link at the time of filing of this report.


Online marketplaces often allow sellers to sell items which may be allowed in one market but banned in another. T-shirts with various descriptions of India’s political map are openly sold in various markets on online commerce sites.


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has visited India twice in the past and openly committed USD 3 billion to be invested in the country and create 45,000 jobs in the next few years. A ban upon Amazon global executives travel to India could impact the company’s reputation, sales and business in the nation.


Rising threats from politicos to corporates


Swaraj is not the only one who has threatened a corporate with dire consequences if they do not toe the line. Recently US President-elect Trump threatened General Motors last week as it planned to move a plant to Mexico.


Trump also threatened with heavy taxes for US companies that move their business operations overseas and still try to sell their product to Americans. The recent H1B visa bill which proposes to raise the minimum salary required to get the visa from USD 60,000 to USD 100,000 is also an indication of stifling regulation that could force technology offshoring businesses to change models.


Last year, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had threatened taxi aggregators Uber and Ola of dire consequences if they did not stop surge pricing during the planned odd-even period.


Uber and Ola both started surge pricing post the odd-even period later in the year even though their app does not show price surges.


E-commerce marketplaces often suffer from a lack of total control over the inventory being posted by their sellers. In May 2015, an FIR was filed against Snapdeal’s CEO Kunal Bahl and directors of the company by Maharashtra’s Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for sale of medicines, including prescription drugs. Snapdeal took action against the seller, as result.



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