The UPA government has finally got its act right by initiating huge reforms. It has taken a positive step by allowing a foreign direct investment of 51 per cent in multi-brand and 100 per cent in single brand retail, and 49 per cent in civil aviation, despite opposition from its key allies. Those opposing the move need to look at the bigger picture. Regulated FDI in retail will help strengthen infrastructure, besides benefiting domestic producers.
The government has cited the economic prosperity of South East nations like Indonesia to support the opening up of the retail sector for MNCs. In reality, the number of people living below the poverty line in Indonesia has increased significantly. I have personally seen the currency crisis in suburban Jakarta, where housewives assemble on highways to sell household things for liquid cash.
Madan Menon Thottasseri,
The Centre’s decision on FDI is suicidal. It has united the Opposition and isolated the government. While the opening up of the aviation sector is welcome, FDI in retail is not. The entry of foreign investors with an eye on profits will lead to large-scale unemployment and ruin the livelihood of small traders. It will also exploit consumers. Our shopping malls will be flooded with foreign goods. The much-harassed farmers will sink into a bottomless pit with no market for their products.
FDI in retail will lead to job losses. Small retailers and ‘kirana’ store owners will suffer. Giant retailers like Walmart will displace small retailers.
G.V.V. Satyanarayana Reddy,
Will FDI in retail solve the agrarian crisis? What has been our experience with existing retail giants? Have they succeeded in eliminating middlemen? If yes, why have farmers not benefited?
With the entry of MNCs, existing middlemen will be replaced by a new class of managers who will also source the produce from traditional wholesalers and big farmers. Modern retail chains concentrate on high-value imported fruits and superior grade vegetables. Small and marginal farmers, who constitute the majority, grow millets, pulses and cereals under risky rainfed conditions. Can the MNCs who come here with a profit motive be expected to empower the farmers when the government has failed in addressing their issues so far?
The Congress-led UPA II has given the ‘better-late-than-never’ push to its brand of economic reforms. While die-hard debaters, corporate club members, health-wealth conscious joggers and the TRP seeking media speak in favour or against the impact, the common man is worried whether he is in for another round of high inflation and severe unemployment.
A. Victor Frank,
By increasing the price of diesel by Rs. 5 a litre and restricting the supply of subsidised domestic LPG cylinders to six a year, the UPA government has dealt a severe blow to the aam aadmi yet again. It finds it easier to pass the burden to the citizens rather than put an end to corruption.
The UPA government can justify its decision to hike the price of diesel and limit the number of subsidised LPG cylinders in any number of ways. But it could have started the procedure during its earlier tenure by limiting the number of subsidised cylinders to 12 per household and stopped the supply of subsidised gas cylinders to families with a salary of Rs. 50,000 and above a month. Why should cost cutting begin at the lower level? Every government wants to squeeze the last drop of blood out of the aam aadmi and generously distribute the natural resources of the country to the rich in the name of development.
I understand the need to improve the finances of oil marketing companies. I also understand the need to reduce the government’s overall subsidy bill. But the government should keep the interests of the common man also in mind. The price increase should be confined only to diesel cars. It should be the same as the petrol price for them. As for LPG gas cylinders, there should not be any form of rationing. It is enough if illegal connections are detected and cut.
Reforms for the UPA government seem to be only about taxing the poor and the middle class. Public transport and private carriers transporting essential goods should be exempted from the diesel price hike. Restrictions on the number of cooking gas cylinders should be applied to the rich. The diversion of such cylinders for commercial use should be arrested.
M. Srinivasa Rao,