The December amendments to the foreign investment rules for ecommerce marketplaces, which roiled foreign-funded online platforms with a host of restrictions, have prompted Flipkart and Amazon to ramp up their government affairs and public policy teams in India, according to sources.
Walmart-owned Flipkart has hired Dhiraj Kapur, former vice-president of corporate affairs at Carlsberg India, as the head of government affairs and he is putting together a national team in some major states. He will report to Rajneesh Kumar, chief of corporate affairs, a source said.
Flipkart also plans to hire experts and retired IAS and IPS officers to advise it on policy issues and government affairs. Kumar, who is also the spokesperson for Flipkart, said the Bengaluru company collaborates and works with different stakeholders across the country to create shared value.
“To continue creating value for these different stakeholders, including communities, we work with industry associations, farmers and FPOs, other partners, governments and public authorities at the central and state levels,” Kumar said in an emailed response.
“Consistent engagement helps us bring best practices to our operations and supply chain. As a homegrown company, we always try to use our technology- and innovation-led problem-solving approach to support all our stakeholders, including public authorities, in executing their growth vision,” he said. “Like many companies, we do consult with advisors to help engage better to support India’s development needs. We don’t have advisory board structure”.
Kumar, however, chose not to stress on the FDI regime. “We have been planning to build out the team since the Walmart partnership announcement, as it is a vital function in any market we operate,” he said.
Rival Amazon is planning to hire for three managerial posts for government affairs and public policy, a source said, and two of these have been advertised on LinkedIn. A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment. A senior executive of a foreign digital company said the aggressive hiring in government and policy teams of both Amazon and Flipkart are a direct fallout of the new FDI policy regime.