In December 2018, the government had tightened FDI
conditions in the online space, stating that an e-commerce platform with foreign investment cannot exercise ownership or control over the inventory sold on its platform.
The DPIIT was approached by the NRAI
last year to provide clarity on whether these rules apply to food aggregators and food delivery firms as well. Both Uber Eats
operate out of multiple physical locations, classified as ‘cloud kitchens’.
"We are in touch with relevant agencies and are investigating this. However, we are not marketplace aggregators. We run our own restaurants. Therefore, this situation as well as the discussion at hand are not applicable to us, at Rebel Foods," said a Rebel Foods spokesperson, the parent company of Faasos.
These properties are in certain cases owned by them, and both extend direct control over the labour and capital used to run the daily operations, the participants said. Faasos has investments from Lightbox Ventures and Sequoia Capital India, among others. Its parent, Rebel Foods, also owns brands like Oven Story, Lunch Box, and Behrouz Biryani.
The DPIIT has said it would inquire into the charges and letters would be sent to the two companies
to clarify. However, the government has taken note of the fact that both businesses maintain their own e-commerce platforms through websites and mobile applications.
“Discussions were held on the agenda points as directed by the DPIIT. They relate to cloud kitchens, exclusivity on aggregator platforms, and issues related to the algorithms used by these aggregators. Both sides put up their points for consideration by the department. Further outcomes will be communicated by the DPIIT after due deliberations,” the NRAI
said in a statement.