The remark by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia that FDI in multi-brand retail is not a threat to small retailers is interesting. The UPA government believes that FDI is a panacea for all its financial woes. It should focus on improving its trust and governance deficit by implementing a transparent and consistent policy framework, which will encourage FDI in critical sectors.
It is time the government stopped using FDI in retail as a hook to lure foreign investors and cover up its inadequacies.
As one who has lived for many years in the West, I can say for sure that foreign retail chains in Indian towns with a population of more than one million will occupy and pay rent to Indian crorepatis who will build malls and supermarkets for them, and provide jobs to less than a million unemployable youths with no prospects of career progression.
The Prime Minister was spurred into action by The Washington Post report on him. Neither the farmer nor the garment makers will get remunerative prices for their products from foreign retail chains. UPA-II is playing a hoax on the nation.
I was hitherto rather ambivalent on the issue of FDI in retail. But Mr. Ahluwalia’s attempts at sidetracking and downright obfuscation of the issues have cleared my confusion. Stop FDI in retail now.