Companies like Walmart have ruined the small sector in retail in those countries where they have set up shop and India would be no exception, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said here on Monday.
Speaking at a convention of her party, the Communist Party of India and the Forward Bloc, she said that just as globalisation had resulted in farmers’ suicides, foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail could result in traders’ suicides. “We should not allow this to happen.”
Ms. Karat said there was “general consensus” in the country against the decision to allow FDI in retail. Only the Congress and NCP favoured it. “A majority of Chief Ministers are against FDI, including some Congress Chief Ministers. Our protests are to save the country from the destruction of crores of livelihoods that will happen if FDI in retail is brought into the country. The UPA government, instead of giving jobs, is snatching jobs by destroying the livelihood of people through the so-called reforms aimed at pleasing multinational companies.”
The Prime Minister, she said, was making “false claims” that entry of companies such as Walmart would generate employment. An average of only 117 jobs a store would be created if companies such as Walmart, Carefour, Metro and Tesco were allowed to start business in India. “This means 34,180 supermarkets should be set up to provide direct employment to four million people. Going by international experience, for every one job created, 17 livelihoods are ruined.”
Quoting a recent study, she said the Muslim community was likely to be most affected by the Centre’s move as they dominated the retail trade in many areas. The large segment of women in retail trade would also be adversely hit.
She asserted that the Left parties would intensify their nationwide agitation on FDI in retail.