Flipkart Concerned Over Clause On Tax Collection At Source

E-commerce major Flipkart on Wednesday expressed concern over a clause relating to tax collection at source (TCS) in the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill.

“We believe that TDS process that has been recommended about holding some tax and paying that on behalf of the seller, that I think is something that will be very difficult for us to implement in practise,” Flipkart executive chairman Sachin Bansal told reporters here.

Flipkart had earlier said that the said clause would prove detrimental to lakhs of small and medium sellers who do business on e-commerce platforms.

This clause, which is not applicable to offline sellers, would hurt the working capital requirement for these sellers as they work on small margins to provide affordable rates to consumers, it had said.

Mr Bansal was speaking after meeting Industries Minister R V Deshpande here.

Calling it a courtesy meeting, Mr Bansal said, “I wanted to tell him about the activities in the internet space, especially in Karnataka as Bengaluru is at the centre of the internet revolution that is happening in India.”

“I have made some broad suggestions, broad thoughts were discussed and we have exchanged ideas,” he added.

He also clarified that Flipkart’s tax issues with the state government were not discussed in the meeting today. To a question, Mr Bansal said Flipkart would continue to invest in Karnataka.

“Absolutely… we have about 5,000 people working here right now, our head count is growing and we will continue to grow over here. We have lot of presence here; we have warehouses in the state. So we will continue to invest.”

On his lessons as a chairman, Mr Bansal said: “Definitely it has become more external focused, but I am very much involved in the day-today operations as well.”

“I am also looking after mentoring of senior leaders in the company, as well as creating a positive ecosystem around Flipkart and some new partnership that you will hopefully see in the coming days.”

He said the key partnerships would be in seller as well as investor front.

To a question on the overall trend in e-commerce with a pull-back in investment and challenges lying ahead, Mr Bansal said, “Overall these are financial cycles that happen.”

“In the whole world I think the internet sector itself is going through a down cycle, but as the positive cycles do not last for ever, the down cycle also do not last for ever, so it will come back,” he said.

Mr Bansal added that Flipkart is not looking at raising more funds.

“We are not looking at raising funds. We are well-funded for a long period of time and so we don’t need to raise any money,” he said.

He also said there is a constant effort to improve operational efficiency and growth in all aspects.

On the series of mark down by mutual funds, Mr Bansal said, “I don’t think much about those mark downs. I think we should just focus on execution, keep our heads down and keep serving our customers. Things will happen.”

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