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The Amazon logo. (Photo: Reuters )
The Amazon logo. (Photo: Reuters )

Opinion | Amazon’s amazing optimism

The US-based online retail major expects sales this year to stay on a healthy incline

Could all the talk about India’s economic slowdown be a bit of an exaggeration? That’s what it seems like, going by the optimism that Amazon is showing over e-commerce in India. “We don’t see any sign of a slowdown," a top executive of the company is reported to have said. The US-based online retail major expects sales this year to stay on a healthy incline. It has enlisted 500,000 sellers ahead of its festive sale that starts later this month, a sharp increase over the 380,000 sellers that participated last year.

Amazon’s bullishness flies in the face of all the grumbles that have emerged from other sectors of the economy. So what’s going on? While there is no denying that demand in general is on a downtrend, it may also be true that not all sectors are going through similar pain. While some industries are in deep trouble, there exist sections of the economy that are thriving: e-commerce is one such example.

The lesson for policymakers is that no single sector (or even a clutch of them) can be taken as indicative of the broader economy. Both depressed and exuberant demand could be because of the magnifying effects of matters specific to a few industries. This is not to say that no further efforts are needed to stimulate overall demand. Given the limited fiscal headroom available, New Delhi cannot afford to dole out sweeping benefits, but it could still work out a way to impart a direct stimulus that doesn’t send its fiscal math haywire. Might income tax relief work?

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