Jeff Bezos said, 'I fall more in love with India every time I return here' (Photo Credit: File Photo)
World's largest online shopping platform Amazon on Friday announced plans to create one million new jobs in India over the next five years. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who was on a three-day visit to India, put out the statement just a day after Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said the firm was not doing a favour to the country by making the investments. Bezos was snubbed by the government during his India visit as his request for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reportedly rejected a month back. The government's brush-off to the world's richest man with an estimated net worth of $115 billion has been linked to articles critical of the government in the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post.
However, it seems the firefighting efforts are on by both sides. While Bezos put out the statement on Friday, Goyal said his comments were misunderstood and that "all investment is welcome "as long as it is within the law".
In the statement released by Amazon and posted on the homepage of Amazon App for Indian users, Bezos said: "I fall more in love with India every time I return here."
According to statement, the new jobs - created both directly and indirectly - will be across industries, including IT, skill development, content creation, retail, logistics, and manufacturing.
These jobs are in addition to the seven lakh jobs Amazon's investments have enabled over the last six years in the country.
The statement comes a day after Goyal said the US-based company was not doing a favour to the country by the investments, and questioned how the online retailing major could incur such "big" losses but for its predatory pricing.
Bezos, who is in India this week, had on Wednesday announced USD 1 billion (over Rs 7,000 crore) investment in the country to help bring small and medium businesses online and committed to exporting USD 10 billion worth of India-made goods by 2025.
"We've seen huge contributions from our employees, extraordinary creativity from the small businesses we've partnered with, and great enthusiasm from the customers who shop with us - and we're excited about what lies ahead," Bezos said in the statement on Friday.
The company noted that the Indian government has prioritised job creation and skilling initiatives - including the training of more than 400 million people by 2022 - in rural and urban areas.
"Amazon's job creation commitment and investment in traders and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) complement these social inclusion and social mobility efforts by creating more opportunities for people in India to find employment, build skills, and expand entrepreneurship opportunities," the statement added.
The company's new investments will help hiring talent to fill roles across the company in India, including software development engineering, cloud computing, content creation, and customer support, it said.
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 (15,000) and space (9.5 acres).
The e-tail giant had previously committed USD 5.5 billion investments in India - Amazon's most important market outside of the US and a key growth driver.
The investments, Amazon said, will also help in expanding growth opportunities for the more than 5.5 lakh traders and micro, small, and medium-sized businesses including local shops - through programs like Saheli, Karigar, and "I Have Space".
In a post on the Amazon.in website, Bezos said more than 60,000 businesses are exporting 'Make in India' products globally with cumulative exports exceeding USD 1 billion.
"I fall more in love with India every time I return here. The boundless energy, innovation, and the grit of the Indian people always inspire me," he wrote.
Bezos' visit has been marked by Competition Commission of India initiating a formal investigation into alleged deep discounts, preferential listing and exclusionary tactics adopted by Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart.
Many store owners, led by traders' body Confederation of All India Traders, had also organised protests in 300 cities against online retailers alleging that these e-commerce companies were violating FDI rules and following predatory pricing in India.
Last year, the government had tightened rules for e-commerce marketplaces with foreign investment. These rules barred such platforms from offering products of sellers in which they hold a stake and banned exclusive marketing arrangements among other clauses. Following this, Amazon restructured its joint ventures to ensure compliance.
The government has asserted that e-commerce companies have to follow Indian rules in letter and spirit and not find loopholes to make a back-door entry into multi-brand retail segment.
(With PTI Inputs)