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Updated: November 26, 2011 02:03 IST

FDI in retail, trigger for another day of tumult

Special Correspondent
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Members of the Confederation of All India Traders protest against the Central Government seeking entry of FDI in Multi Brand Retail at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Photo: S. Subramanium
Members of the Confederation of All India Traders protest against the Central Government seeking entry of FDI in Multi Brand Retail at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Photo: S. Subramanium

Trinamool jumps on Opposition bandwagon, while Akali Dal backs move

Cabinet clearance for Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail led to tumult and uproar in Parliament, with both Houses adjourning without transacting any business for the third successive day on Friday.

Going by the Opposition's hostile reaction, there is a question mark over smooth conduct of proceedings when Parliament meets on Monday.

Communist Party of India Parliamentary Party leader Gurudas Dasgupta has already made it known that he will move an adjournment motion on the issue of FDI in retail. Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi has also indicated that if necessary, his party too will table an adjournment motion.

Joining the entire Opposition in opposing the UPA government move was the Trinamool Congress, a Congress ally. In both Houses, members trooped into the well.

Some members in the Rajya Sabha tore up papers containing the business schedule, according to which Commerce Minister Anand Sharma would make a statement on the Cabinet decision.

While the UPA managers were working hard to get the Trinamool on board, their only consolation was the unequivocal support to the government move on FDI from the Akali Dal, an NDA constituent. At a news conference here, Dr. Joshi termed the Cabinet decision “lopsided and anti-people” and asserted that his party would give a ‘direction' to its Chief Ministers not to allow foreign investors into multi-brand retail in their States. He recalled that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce headed by him in 2009 had given a unanimous report opposing FDI in multi-brand retail.


On its part, the Left took a strident stand, stating the decision would destroy the livelihoods of crores of small retailers and lead to monopolisation of the retail sector by multinationals.

“Coming in the backdrop of a persistent high inflation, growing joblessness and agrarian distress, this decision shows the utterly callous and anti-people character of the UPA government,” the CPI (Marxist) Polit Bureau said.

The CPI said millions of retail traders and people engaged in the trade “will be deprived of their livelihood…it is nothing but selling the house silver to subsidise the corporate sector and undermine our economic sovereignty to international finance capital,” the national executive said, demanding the decision be rescinded.

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Days are not far off when India becomes slave of Italy as the Govt.
policies under Italian CEO are creating situations similar to British
India Company Rule in India. In Hindi a saying is "Dood ka Jala Chach
bhi fook-fook kar pita hai" We Indians have tasted slavery once hence,no
more now. FDI in retail is synonym to economic slavery in long term.

from:  satyanarayana
Posted on: Nov 28, 2011 at 19:47 IST

Wall Mart will success in India .Small traders will also grow in India . WalMart will not be in every colony and every streets in India One Wall Mart will be in Delhi. Small traders can buy and sells in every parts of Delhi in every shops in Delhi and people those how have time they can go in WalMart for shopping. All ready Same Pattern of Chain shop are running in our country like Big Bazaar >and others Wall Mart is World largest chain of store where every one can get every thing Under One Umbrella Wall Mart keeps title profit but takes big business . Hence people can get benefit. Those who are opposing it if they want to buy furniture from France No body can stop them . they can import it. Walmart will be one store in Delhi and traders can buy and distribute in every shop in Delhi people of India will get whole item and get whole variety of world in every shop of India on reasonable price If wall mart will sell world product in india Wall mart will sell indian product in world.

from:  Daljeet Singh
Posted on: Nov 27, 2011 at 07:15 IST

Now, according to a report in this paper, the RBI has supported the decision of the government to allow FDI in retail business on the argument that it will bring down inflation. This is a case of an agency, whose mandate is to deal with monetary policies, intruding into other areas which not only have economic significance, but also have political dimensions. RBI can as well ask people to eat less to bring down food inflation! It is difficult to understand what is happening and why in the UPA regime these days.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 19:47 IST

If FDI is allowed in the retail sector, it will wipe out many of the smaller Indian retailer chains and the small retailers like the small provision shops and the push cart vendors, who thrive largely in the residential areas around upper-middle class and richer sections of the society. The estimate that FDI in retail trade will generate 10 million jobs is not realistic. But it will certainly destroy millions of tiny retail entrepreneurs. Therefore, India has all to lose and nothing much to gain by allowing higher FDI in retail. This decision of the government has been done only to favor the major retail establishments in the West and in the USA. India has no need for FDI in retail sector; there is no need for the foreign retail chains in India. Let wisdom prevail upon our leaders! "

from:  Dr.C.Murukadas
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 13:26 IST

Unorganized retailing has been a source of self-employment for the people of our country. Even though corporate and big private retail outlets has been coming up for the past several years,traditional form of retail business which is mostly small and medium retail has always represented the uniqueness of our nation as it is only here we have the unorganized retail not only being a source of business and employment but its also an established form of trade for very many years and anyone with a capital and enthusiasm to work hard has become a retailer and succeeded. The government itself can make the supply chain effective by using indigenous and state of art technology instead of inviting foreign players as it lead to large scale unemployment in the unorganized sector.If inviting capital is the reason for this move, then the services of Indian corporates who have entered this business could be utilized s many of them carved a niche for them self.

from:  Vyjayanthi
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 11:54 IST

I returned to India from the U.S. (despite holding a green card) after 25 years of globe trotting because I was tired of automated shopping, with no humans to assist you (only numbers on a board!) and a cashier that mechanically said "How are U today?" slapped the items on a scanner, billed me and then went on to "How are you today" to the next customer. It didn't suit my India psyche used to talking to shop owners and sales staff. Automation when one called up any dept. and anybody and freeway traffic moving at a snail's pace, the oxymoron of the philosophy "Time is Money"!. It's dangerous to let in foreign retailers when today despite so-called decontamination Japan finds it's rice radio-active again. What's to stop unscrupulous Global corporations like WalMart from importing unwanted radio-active foods/items from Japan and dumping it in our markets? We have no dosimeters. In the U.S. independant youtubers using dosimeters have shown radio-active items from Japan on their shelves.

from:  angela alvares
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 11:52 IST

This is a fantastic decision and long overdue. I guess India needs a crisis to launch reforms, in 1991 it was balance of payment and now it is sky high inflation, slowing GDP growth and depreciating rupee. As international companies with long term retail experience enter India it would introduce modern supply chain and logistical processes such as cold storage system, removal of middle men, better remuneration for the farmers, reduction in farm produce wastage that is partly responsible for food inflation and low buying power in the rural areas. Multibrand retail would also create millions of jobs in retail and logistical processes without requiring higher education such as in IT industry. I don't think it is a zero sum game for the neighborhood kirana stores. There will be customers for both multibrand retail and kirana stores - for day to day grocery needs people would still stop at kirana given that mutibrand retail stores will be few and far between.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 11:42 IST

If India wants to have fancy retail stores,and keep the capital and money, let the Commerce Ministry go to retail business the Public Corporation. If India can run postal system, banking system and NEPC etc, it can run effeciently the retail food & products business. It would cost less if you float bonds to get the money from capital market. So think about that. Don't let everything to be done by others and in process become dependent again. How about Ecomonic Freedom and Investment in the Country for good of the Country ?

from:  Ganesh C. Bhuyan
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 10:56 IST

All concerned citizens have to join hands and tell the bosses of all political parties in very unambiguous but firm terms that this business of disruption is going to far. Those honourable members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha who register protest against the UPA government’s policies are free to do so but not by disrupting the Parliament but through other methods of protest. Unfortunately, even the most sensible BJP MPs are not realizing the harm done to our democracy by such disruptions and appear to be under a wrong impression that this way they can impress the people at large and win elections in 2012.

from:  Narendra M Apte
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 10:02 IST

Keeping aside for a moment the opposition for entry of retail giants like Walmart into the Indian market, any one who had seen how retail outlets like Walmart,Sams Club, Sears, Target, J.C.Penny etc. operate in USA will ask the government to provide answers to the following questions. How will they find the required land for establishing the sprawling shopping complex with well planned car parking slots closer to the shops, without creating social tensions over land acquisition in the cities and towns where they are to come up ? Do we have the highways and roads in the interiors to allow accident free movement of long transportation trucks operated by them from one point to another point and without creating traffic bottlenecks en route at any point of time? Where from India suffering from chronic power shortages will provide power to these stores to preserve food items like milk, fruits and vegetables, meat and fish? Do we have any convincing answers to these questions NOW?

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 09:15 IST

Dr.Manmohan Singh has unfortunately not yet realised that governance of a country should be guided by principles of political economy and not general economic thory. He has shown this weakness in his government's policy formulations whether it be in regard to monetary policy, fiscal policy, unbridled highly leveraged economic growth which leaves the people to cope with the consequent high inflation and dangers of mounting atmospheric pollution including radiation hazards. It is time that the opposition parties and the civil society together make a concerted effort in makng the Prime Minister realise that ordinary people and their travails count in this country.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 08:17 IST

There needs to be a srong debate on the performance of FCI (Food Corporation of India, Weights& measures Dept., Food adulteration,Employment practices of small retailers, Mandi Act, APMC etc. to understand the real value of FDI in retail. As a farmer I have had good experience in my dealings with organised retail like Spencers - they pay well and in time.

from:  Jayant Ghosh
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 08:02 IST

Setting shop in India is exactly how foreigners managed to ultimately conquer and subjugate India.

from:  Udhishtir
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 07:43 IST

Instead of engaging the ruling party in a healthy debate on multi brand retail the opposition is behaving in a most irresponsible manner. It would be obvious for any literate India the kind of disorganised manner unorganised retail functions subject to the vagaries of hoarding, poor storage,profiteering and health hazards. The Government has made a beginning by earmarking 51 cities with population of over 10 lakhs for multi brand retail which would be the precursor for unorganised retail also organising themselves on the modesl set by the big retailers. It is evident in big cities where a number of mom and pop stores have remodelled their stores organising themselves in the space available for orderly retailing. We need not look at other countries for any models. We need to do what is best for us. Multi brand retail will help in saving the country from the huge wastage due to poor storage, providing remunerative prices for the growers, huge employment opportunities and ethical dealing.

from:  R.Vijaykumar
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 07:13 IST

India is still living in the past.Still living in a caveman's mentality under the Old India.India needs a breakout.It takes strong leadership to move forward rather than giving in to these small selfish interest groups.

from:  Abraham
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 06:42 IST

Corporations like Walmart, Monsanto, and countless others of their ilk do not have the interest of the general populace anywhere in the world. Politicians must put the interest of their electorate first and foremost. They should not promote these nefarious entities whose aim and objective is to profit by whatever means. Indians! Do not allow corporations to control your food. Just look at the Americans before deciding to follow their life-style. They gorge themselves on food and drinks produced by profit-motivated corporations who use GM fruits and veg produce,factory farmed meat, chemical additives and fats; dangerous and unhealthy to consume. Americans, in general, are obese and unhealthy. Thus, subject to pharmaceutical corporations' "cures" . Say No! to Walmart. Don't let the politicians allow American imperialism through the backdoor. British imperialism was bad. American imperialism is more insidious. Corporations are their Trojan horses.

from:  Rajagopal Raman
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 06:41 IST

I am a US citizen, visiting India currently. I know first hand how Wal-Mart has destroyed small business and particularly local American companies in the last 20 years. Wal-Mart's only secret of success is that it uses a policy of moving targets in purchasing its products. Wherever it finds cheaper products, it will buy them and sell them in its stores and make mega profits. India should not abandon its local small business at any cost.

from:  Sameer
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 05:33 IST

This is double edged weapon. While consumers will be benefited, India as a whole will suffer. If you look in its entirety, this is a bad decision. Millions of small shops will be shut down. So the job losses will be in several millions. This will have a multiplier effect. Small businesses like transport will be wiped out. The walmarts will buy things from any where from the world and many Indian producers and manufacturers will be wiped out. These people are too old to be trained for any other occupation. Walamarts will not employ them. They will employ only young people at a subsistence salary.Why we are aping the west on everything. Instead of having to measure in GDP, we should have a sustainable development. If these small business are wiped out the Banks which have lent billions of rupees to the small business like shop keepers, transport etc will have enormous bad debts. As these are lent by Public Sector banks, the bill will be on the common man.

from:  S S Subramanian
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 05:20 IST

On an important issue like this, the government ought to get public opinion before launching the program.

from:  V. Subramanian
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 04:19 IST

Seeing how Walmart has destroyed the small retailers in US, how our already 'foreign-goods-crazy' middle class, the slavery of US to China, is it prudent to allow FDI in this sector? The Ambanis have already destroyed several small businesses. The India of Nehru is slowly dying. Being more socialist is important to ensure that mass suicides of the poor are averted. The government can create employment opportunities without the need of foreigners. After all, the move is only going to flood our market with cheap Chinese goods.

from:  Sesha
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 04:08 IST

In India, there are millions of retail traders, selling daily requirements of food items (i.e. food grains, groceries, fish, meat, etc.) Many of them also carry on vending through the push carts, which move around residential localities. The retail traders, mostly provision/grocery stores, serve all sections of the society, including the upper middle class and rich people. Even the push cart vendors have regular customers from the upper-middle class and richer sections. It is quite possible that people will migrate to foreign retail chain stores, partly due to the perceived better quality of the items and lower prices. The foreign supermarkets will first destroy the small businesses and then destroy the agriculturist-farmers and other producers with a monopoly. The foreign conglomerates like Wall-Mart will deliberately sell the items for some time at lower prices; they have the capacity to run the business even on loss for a few years. But once they are able destroy the small retail traders and push cart vendors, they will mindlessly raise the prices and restrict the services. Take, for instance, some of the existing Indian retail chains charge Rs. 2-3 for providing carry bags, which is free in the small retail stores. Moreover, they often sell spoiled items for reduced prices. Already the tiny entrepreneurs doing retail trading have a precarious existence. They find it difficult to earn adequate in even for meeting daily requirements. Once the foreign conglomerates enter retail trading, their livelihood will be affected very much. As far as Indonesia is concerned, Mr. Anand Sharma’s contention is wrong. It is a small county. Moreover, reports show that FDI in retail trading has ruined many local small retail shop owners. Therefore, Indonesia has recently imposed many restrictions on foreign retail chains. We indeed are at a loss to understand the need for opening up retail trade, which is the source of employment and livelihood for millions of people all over the country. The argument put forth by the authorities is absurd and hurtful. India has no need for FDI in retail sector; there is no need for the foreign retail chains in India. Let wisdom prevail upon our leaders!

from:  Dr.C.Murukadas
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 03:49 IST

it might be hard for the mom n pop stores to survive if bigger stores are allowed but there should be some way to have bigger stores and smaller stores flourish together . we can not forget some good things offered by stores like walmart . for ex there return policies, customer care etc etc these things u will never find on smaller stores. but if india manages to have both kind of store that would be best thing for the consumer . however statements like i will set walmart on fire by uma bharti suggests only her desperateness to come into power . bjp needs to rethink before coming to power that what kind of faces they want with them . those who can set things on fire or who can suggest ideas that can make better bharat.

from:  Sharma RX
Posted on: Nov 26, 2011 at 03:23 IST
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