India’s commerce minister faces warmth for criticism of companies together with Tata

Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Railways and Minister of Trade and Industry, attends a meeting at the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 21, 2020 in Davos, Switzerland. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse / File Photo

NEW DELHI, Aug 14 (Reuters) – India’s Minister of Commerce was announced on social media Saturday for remarks that many large domestic corporations had overlooked national interests and that Tata Group’s $ 106 billion objections were proposed political changes for e-commerce would have angered him.

At an event organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Thursday, Minister Piyush criticized Goyal Tata, saying broadly that local businesses shouldn’t just focus on profits or think about circumventing local laws, according to media reports and one Source who participated in the event.

The comments caught public attention and sparked a debate on social media after the Hindu newspaper reported on Saturday that the government had asked the CII to block videos containing Goyal’s comments.

Two links to these videos of Goyal’s speech that were shared with journalists have now been marked private and blocked. The CII and Goyal offices did not respond to a request for comment.

“The kind of language used against captains of industry and describing their work against the nation’s interest is shameful … CII should seek an apology instead of helping it by pulling down the video,” said Priyanka Chaturvedi, a lawmaker and opposition leader .

A spokeswoman for India’s largest opposition Congress Party, Supriya Shrinate, said on Twitter that Goyal’s statements were “undignified”.

Goyal’s comments on Tata came after Reuters reported last month that the conglomerate was the loudest to announce to the government at a meeting in July that the proposed e-commerce rules will have a huge impact on its business and its joint venture partners like Starbucks (SBUX.O) from selling goods on Tata’s shopping websites.

Speaking at the CII event, Goyal said that Tata’s objection to the rules violated him and said he conveyed that position to Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran, the source present said.

Tata did not want to comment on Saturday.

Goyal has also repeatedly criticized Amazon (AMZN.O) and Walmarts (WMT.N) Flipkart for allegedly bypassing foreign investment rules for e-commerce. This week he also cited the Quit India movement in Parliament as he welcomed a court order that allowed an antitrust investigation into the two companies to continue.

However, the Confederation of All India Traders welcomed Goyal’s position on Saturday, saying it was “very unfortunate” that Tata opposed the government’s e-commerce rules.

153-year-old Tata Group has big e-commerce plans and plans to roll out an app that will integrate several of their top brands, but the proposed policy changes have scared them, Reuters reported.

Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Abhirup Roy; Adaptation by Kim Coghill

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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