It is amusing to hear U.S. President Barack Obama talk about the health of the Indian economy (July 16) when his own country is in the middle of an economic crisis. It is a strategic outburst by Uncle Sam following an article in the Time magazine calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh an “underachiever”. The western world sees India as a growing market for its corporate houses as the country has the highest number of young middle class people aspiring to contribute to western consumerism. The government should not yield to growing pressure from the western world and change the course of economic reforms to their advantage at the cost of poor citizens of the country.
Mr. Obama’s comment that India needs another wave of reforms is ill-timed. At the same time, it has put Dr. Singh in a tight spot. If he were to pass the kind of “reforms” Mr. Obama wants, the opinion that our sovereign government is taking its orders from Uncle Sam will gain strength. If he ignores Mr. Obama’s opinion, it would amount to lack of respect for international investors, who our Prime Minister is so eager to please.
FDI in multi brand retail will lead to the “Walmartisation” of the retail sector with devastating consequences for small traders. One should travel to the small towns of the U.S. to see the havoc such a policy had on the “Mom & Pop” retail outlets, and led to the decay of its core downtown business districts.
Mr. Obama is himself advocating protectionism. He is the most vocal critic of outsourcing. His advice on FDI in retail seems to be guided by corporate lobbies in the U.S.
Shailendra P. Shinde,