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TIAM turns a full cycle Welcome focus on core competence Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet Readers' Mail Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! The nuclear option The sea- saw battle continues... Pharma – overdose of copying R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital When Ratan Tata visited SRM S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal ONGC at KG Basin Editor's Notes Quality silica from Neyveli Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Kudos to NDTV... London, London Narayan Roaring Ro-Ro facility Road development slows down The brown list of Venkitaramanan Making ‘my Amaravati’... Modi and the lady IPL - no surprise this scam TELANGANA at last…BUT Revive development banks... Should we change the official year? 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Editor's Says Shanti and Sadhana through Music More heat than light EVM is tamper-proof Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami Where a state respects its litterateurs… A friendly business group Lalu’s envy, India’s pride …and of a popular trade leader The power-full Hindujas Muffled voices for merit… Kulandai was a giant Poor quality of university VCs He continues the focus on social amelioration Delhi returns to BJP Tough task taking states together Russi Mody – a tribute There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! Music happens A more liberated TN… Fortune for Indian Airlines to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai IPL type auction for VCs? This scant respect for Law Delhi is distant TGS- The king storyteller Polls and promises Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Maximising the micro pricing … Quality education through the PPP mode Five star activism stalls development activity Valli, they are more marginalised Haul over the coal Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna An inexplicable neglect Put expensive assets created to use... A yen for wastage… A glass full of corruption Alexa – Talking Wikipedia West Bengal: mindless malignancy Strengthen the base... The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu Come elections, come advertisements... L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Tax agriculture
 
Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses...

There is the expected protest from brick and mortar companies over the blitzkrieg of promotions unleashed by e-commerce companies. The latest to join are the retailers of drugs and pharma products.

These arise over a couple of concerns: the first is the additions to cost made at different points of the distributor chain in conventional marketing; these also involve hefty costs of real estate: setting up retail stores at vantage points in cities and towns does involve huge costs on rental space. This is especially high for metros and large cities. There are the additional hassles of transportation, parking, transfer of goods from the shop to home, etc.

There are also tax issues. Luckily, with a certain uniformity in state sales tax rates brought about by the Vajpayee government, this issue has softened to a considerable extent. States are bound to raise concern over loss of revenue through e-commerce across the nation from warehouses kept at areas of low cost.

The other issue relates to regulation and quality. Pharma dealers point to e-commerce companies dealing with prescription drugs. They question how a drug prescribed by a doctor could be sold through such companies. But the drug trade at retail level is marked by several unsavoury practices and huge mark up  in prices.

I witnessed a curious instance of extending such protest to ludicrous levels. I was looking at the pricing of hearing aids. The ENT specialist suggested a well-known dealer in this line. When I enquired, the local dealer indicated the cost for the instrument at around Rs  62,000 for each ear. My children working in the US,  checked with Amazon and found a piece of same specification to cost around Rs 19,000! When the issue was taken to the managing director of the sole distributor in India, he tried to explain it away by saying that instruments may not carry warranty and none of the dealers would provide servicing to the instruments purchased online.

Hearing aid tuning can be done by an audiologist. But the manufacturers working as a cartel, refuse to extend warranty on products sold online! At such high prices, relief is not available to the average citizen.

 

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