Protesting against the Union government’s decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, activists, under the banner the All India Pragati Human Rights, marched from the Town Hall to the Raj Bhavan. Most of them were small and petty traders from the markets around S.J.P. Road and Kalasipalya.
Apprehending that entry of large corporations such as Walmart would stifle their livelihood options, the agitators demanded a complete withdrawal of the Central government’s policy.
In a memorandum submitted to the Governor’s office, they argued that small traders could hardly hope to compete with large corporations which have millions of dollars in investments. They said that despite their meagre investments, they are able to run sustainable businesses. “But the entry of mammoth corporations will destroy our businesses,” they said in the memorandum.
Quoting from newspaper articles, they said the issue concerns 40 million petty and small traders in the country, who form four per cent of the population. Prime among their demands was a national policy on small and micro trading, the setting up of a national commission to study the social, economic and environmental impact of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.