: Over 100 office-bearers representing trade bodies in 30 districts of Tamil Nadu convened a meeting opposing any move to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector here on Wednesday. Organised under the auspices of Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants Association, the meeting termed this move as jeopardising the livelihood of 1.56 crore retailers in the country, who directly employed 4 crore people and provided indirect employment to 16 crore persons.
The traders have decided to meet the Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to urge them to impress upon the Centre the need to stop FDI in retail sector.Resolutions were also passed at the meeting asking traders and retailers to meet Members of Parliament representing their constituency and explain the adverse consequences of opening up the retail sector.
A. Jayaseelan, general secretary of Salem City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that only three per cent of retail sector was organised.
Many retailers were operating with low returns and allowing FDI would drive lakhs of traders out of business. The retailers acted like a bridge between the consumers and manufacturers at present.
Once major corporates were allowed to enter the sector, they would become the dominant market players and force their prices upon manufacturers, he said. V. V. S. Yogan, president, Virudhunagar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that opening up the retail sector would result in a few industrial houses and multinational companies monopolising the entire retail trade.
He said that if the Government wanted to combat inflation, it should construct more warehouses to prevent postharvest losses and ban online trading of food commodities, which was the main factor in driving up prices. The retailers also wanted the Government to ban not just the multinational companies but also domestic conglomerates from entering the retail sector.