Friday 31 January 2020

CAIT calls for special income tax slab for traders

CAIT calls for special income tax slab for tradersNew Delhi : Urging the government for keeping the trading community on priority list, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said on Thursday that the upcoming Union Budget should introduce a special income tax slab for the traders.

In a statement, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that the government should also review the Goods and Services Tax (GST) along with simplifying and rationalising the GST tax structure.

He also sought the waiver of bank charges on digital payments for faster acceptance and adoption of digital payments in the country. Khandelwal has also asked for policies to support digitalisation and computerisation of traders' businesses.

CAIT has been on the forefront of the protest against the discount policy on e-commerce sites and has time and again asked the government to look into the operations of the online platforms.

In its statement on Budget recommendations, the traders' body has said that the government should increase the custom duty on imports from China and other countries on non-technical items, along with the suggestion to review multiple laws for retail trade and withdrawal of redundant laws.

Khandelwal said in the statement that only one licence should be made necessary in place of multiple licences required for operating business activities.

The Budget on February 1 comes at a crucial time, as India's retail trade is going through an unprecedented slowdown on the back of weak demand. The subdued retail segment due to liquidity crisis has played a major role in the current lacklustre economic scenario.

Amazon joins $1 trillion club with robust Q4 results

Amazon joins $1 trillion club with robust Q4 resultsSan Francisco : Amazon joined the $1-trillion club with Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet after shares climbed nearly 11 per cent in extended trading as the retail giant reported $87.44 billion in sales - 21 per cent increase (Year-on-Year) -- for its fourth quarter that ended on December 31, 2019.

Amazon's Cloud business reported $9.95 billion in sales, up 34 per cent from the year-ago quarter.

Net income increased to $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter, or $6.47 per diluted share, compared with net income of $3 billion, or $6.04 per diluted share from fourth quarter in 2018.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO said that Prime membership continues to get better for customers year after year.

"And customers are responding as more people joined Prime this quarter than ever before, and we now have over 150 million paid Prime members around the world," Bezos said in a statement late Thursday.

"Members now have free two-hour grocery delivery from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market in more than 2,000 US cities and towns," he added.

For the full calendar year 2019, the net sales increased 20 per cent to $280.5 billion -- compared with $232.9 billion in 2018. Net income increased to $11.6 billion in 2019, compared with net income of $10.1 billion in 2018.

Amazon announced there are now hundreds of millions of Alexa-enabled devices in customers' hands and customers interact with Alexa billions of times each week.

Fire TV now has more than 40 million active users worldwide. Amazon announced the new Fire TV Edition at CES 2020, which includes a set of tools, features, and services that make it even easier for developers, operators, device makers, and manufacturers to integrate Fire TV into their products.

BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are among the first automakers to introduce Fire TV in their future vehicles.

Amazon Music has more than 55 million customers worldwide, said the company.

The company mentioned recent investment announcements during Bezos' India visit which was marred by Delhi's political heat amid traders' ire.

"Amazon pledged to invest $1 billion to help digitize traders and micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMBs) across India, with the goal of bringing more than 10 million MSMBs online by 2025," said the company.

Today, there are more than 550,000 sellers on Amazon India marketplace, more than 60,000 Indian manufacturers and brands are exporting their "Make in India" products to customers worldwide on Amazon.

"We expect our new $1 billion investment to enable $10 billion in cumulative Indian exports by 2025," it added.

Since launching in 2013, Amazon has created more than 700,000 direct and indirect jobs in India.

In January, Amazon announced plans to create an additional one million jobs in India by 2025, with continued investments in technology, infrastructure, and logistics.

Since 2014, Amazon has grown its employee base more than four times, and last year inaugurated its new campus building in Hyderabad, Amazon's first fully-owned campus outside the United States and the largest building globally in terms of employees and space.

Amazon India announced it will have 10,000 electric vehicles in its delivery fleet by 2025.

In 2019, authors earned more than $300 million from the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select Global Fund, totaling more than $1.1 billion since the launch of Kindle Unlimited, said the company.

Millions of independent authors have self-published millions of books through KDP since launching the service in 2007. Additionally, thousands of independent authors earned more than $50,000, with more than a thousand surpassing $100,000 in royalties in 2019 through KDP.

Independent third-party sellers, mostly small and medium-sized businesses, sold more than a billion items during the holiday season, including more than 100 million items shipped with Prime Free One-Day Delivery.

AWS announced several significant new customer commitments and migrations during the quarter spanning major industries.

AWS announced the general availability of AWS Outposts, a fully-managed service that extends AWS infrastructure and services to virtually any data center, co-location space, or on-premises facility.

AWS announced six new capabilities for Amazon SageMaker, a fully-managed service that removes the heavy lifting from each step of the machine learning process.

AWS also announced five new artificial intelligence (AI) services designed to put machine learning in the hands of more developers.

Thursday 30 January 2020

Submit fresh report on compliance of plastic rules by Amazon, Flipkart: NGT to CPCB

Submit fresh report on compliance of plastic rules by Amazon, Flipkart: NGT to CPCBNEW DELHI: The NGT asked the Central Pollution Control Board on Wednesday to submit a fresh report on Amazon and Flipkart's compliance of plastic waste management rules, a day after the CPCB said the e-commerce giants need to collect the waste generated due to packaging of their products.

Hearing a plea filed by a 16-year-old boy to stop Amazon and Flipkart from excessive plastic use in packaging, the National Green Tribunal said it is for the regulator CPCB to enforce the rules.

Advocate Balendu Shekhar, appearing for CPCB, told the bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel about the non-compliance of plastic waste management rules by the e-commere giants, saying the e-commerce firms need to fulfil their extended producer responsibility under the rules.

They use excessive plastics for packaging but have not registered with CPCB, Shekhar said, adding the companies should obtain registration as brand owner after submitting relevant documents.

Advocate Sanjay Upadhyay, appearing for Amazon, told the green tribunal they will comply with all formalities on extended producer responsibility by June 30.

The bench, however, asked them to approach the CPCB and posted the matter for hearing on April 22.

On Tuesday, the CPCB told the NGT that as per provisions 9(2) of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, "Primary responsibility for collection of used multi-layered plastic sachet or pouches or packaging is of producers, importers and brand owners who introduce the products in the market.

"Amazon Retail India Private Limited and Flipkart Private limited are involved in packaging and selling of other companies' products and thus introducing plastic packaging in the market. They need to fulfil their extended producer responsibility under PWM Rules and should obtain registration as brand owner after submitting proper documents," CPCB said.

Aditya Dubey, the petitioner in the case through advocate Divya Prakash Pande, has pleaded the NGT to direct Amazon and Flipkart to stop excessive use of plastic in packaging.

Responding to the plea, Amazon India said it has been "relentlessly" working to reduce single-use plastic in its supply chain and is committed to eliminating its usage in their buildings by June 2020.

"Towards this, we have introduced 'paper cushions', which have completely replaced plastic dunnage across our fulfilment centres in India. We also ensure that packaging material in the form of corrugate boxes and paper cushions contains as high as 100% recycled content and is also fully recyclable. To reduce packaging waste and use of plastic, 'Packaging Free Shipment' (PFS) has now expanded to 20 cities within a year," an Amazon India spokesperson said Tuesday.

Flipkart said it has been "constantly striving to find eco-friendly alternatives for plastic packaging which is resilient and keeps the product safe during transit".

"The company firmly believes in the principle of 'business with a purpose' and we are aware of our responsibility towards the environment," a Flipkart spokesperson said.

Dubey's plea has contended that the companies deliver items in cardboard boxes, which are too large when compared to the size of the items being delivered.

The plea has also said that though the home-delivery service of e-commerce companies have been very useful for consumers, they have given rise to serious environmental challenges. Once goods are delivered, the plastic waste is thrown away in garbage and it ends up at landfill sites, it said.

"Single-use plastic has emerged as one of the biggest environmental challenges for our planet. It is cheap, useful, ubiquitous and very deadly," the petition has said.