The article “Money does grow on trees, Prime Minister” (Sept. 28), where the comparison of the Walmart effect in destroying jobs in U.S. cities and drawing a parallel that the same would happen in India, is a case of mixing apples and oranges. First, even after the State’s blessings, large retailers need to acquire large swathes of land in prime areas, which is a monumental task. Second, companies like Walmart are able to reap supply-chain efficiencies in the U.S. because of a strong infrastructure. The same thing can’t be said of India. Third, the Indian consumer is a very complex persona. Fourth, organised retail is small fish that would neither threaten the livelihoods of “kirana” shops, as portrayed by the Opposition, nor restore the financial heath of the nation, as hoped by the government.
Finally, unlike Indian companies, U.S. corporations are subjected to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that prohibits bribery when doing business abroad. A balanced view that spells out the facts would certainly help the common man so that he is not left in a state of constant confusion on how his livelihood would change.
Varad Seshadri, Sunnyvale, CA
Ever since the Central government announced FDI in retail trade subject to conditions, there have been huge protests all over the country. The government has defended its decision on the pretext that there are certain conditions that would curb the monopolistic nature of mega retailers. Sadly, not much light has been shed on what these conditions are.
Siddharth G., Kozhikode