- Jeff Bezos put out a statement today promising to create 10 lakh jobs
- He left India yesterday without meeting with any minister
- Last month, his request to meet PM Modi was reportedly rejected
"We will use Amazon's global footprint to enable US$10 billion in exports of Indian products to the rest of the world by 2025. Our investments in India will create an additional 1 million jobs across the country by 2025," Jeff Bezos said in a letter posted on Amazon.in on Friday.
Jeff Bezos left India yesterday without meeting with any minister or top government functionary. The Amazon founder's request for an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been turned down a month ago, government sources told NDTV. "Meeting Jeff Bezos cannot be considered the government's compulsion," the sources said.
The friction was evident in Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal's response to Mr Bezos's Indian investment announcement. "They may have put in a billion dollars but then if they make a loss of a billion dollars every year then they jolly well have to finance that billion dollars. So it's not as if they are doing a great favour to India when they invest a billion dollars," Mr Goyal said the same day.
Today, Mr Goyal clarified: "We welcome all types of investments. But if the foundation of any investment violates law then there will be a legal process. Some people think I said something negative against Amazon. If you look at the context of my statement, I said investment should come within the law and regulations. This process is followed across the world."
The minister said Amazon's investments should not create unfair competition for small traders. "This investment should not create unfair competition to small traders and retail businessmen in India," he said.
There are obvious signs that the government's cold-shoulder follows Washington Post's critical coverage of decisions from the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the restrictions in Kashmir to the citizenship law.
To one of Mr Bezos's Twitter posts on "Dynamism. Energy. Democracy. #IndianCentury", Vijay Chauthaiwale, the BJP's foreign affairs in-charge, shot back: "Please tell this to your employees in Washington DC. Otherwise your charm offensive is likely to be waste of time and money."
Mr Chauthaiwale, asked to explain his tweet, said: "I am not opposing Amazon as a company, in fact I am a regular customer ... Jeff Bezos should go home tell Washington Post what is his impression about India...Washington Post editorial policy is highly biased and agenda driven."
News agency ANI quoted a senior official as saying that the government did not meet Mr Bezos because Amazon is engulfed in controversies.
The anti-trust body Competition Commission of India is investigating the business model of Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart over allegations of predatory pricing, deep discounting, exclusivity and preferential seller treatment.