The editorial “Misplaced obsession” (Nov. 28) on the UPA government's decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail is an eye-opener. The argument by our policymakers that Walmart-like multinationals can find a solution to inflation is shameful. Are they incapable of identifying the causes of inflation and taking remedial steps? If they cannot think of creative and innovative steps, let them copy the Walmart business model. Why bring it here?
The UPA government's decision will sound the death knell for small kirana stores across the country. Its claim that its move will generate huge employment, lead to a reduction in prices and contain inflation is fallacious. The decision appears to be influenced by big business houses. It is certainly not in the interest of the aam aadmi , in whose name the UPA came to power.
The UPA's seven-plus years in power have been a saga of lost, skipped, skewed and brought forward priorities. As rightly noted in the editorial, the government should focus on improving the PDS and enhancing agricultural productivity. All other sectors of the economy can take care of themselves on the present levels of policy support. The time for FDI in retail will come, like progressing from class 5 to class 8.
The biggest source of self-employment after agriculture is the retail sector. Is opening it to FDI without any fair trade laws right? We should encourage FDI only in areas where we lack the requisite technology. What new technology will Walmart bring?
Before introducing the second-generation reforms, the government should have worked on infrastructure development. Reforms are said to bring the much-talked about technology. But one wonders what kind of technology retail trade can bring.
Globalisation is necessary but an FDI of 51 per cent will affect small retailers to a large extent. Growth within the country should be the government's priority. People will find it difficult to adapt themselves to the Walmart culture overnight. What FDI in retail will do is bring about sudden growth, not sustainable growth.
Sowmiya R. Prasad,
The Cabinet decision is a reminder of the khaas aadmi dispensation, rather than the deceptive aam aadmi slogan of the Congress. Are we to believe that the replacement of the existing domestic retail structure with a videshi one will remove unemployment and inequalities? Or, is the decision aimed at pleasing the global village headman? Is there any life-saving technology transfer involved in this imprudent anti-people decision? Thankfully, the unflinching struggle of the Left against the decision has succeeded in mobilising support.
Twenty years ago, people argued that foreign companies would take over the Indian market; Indian companies would disappear in a few years; and small companies would not be able to grow. But, today, we find that micro and small scale industries continue to grow and are a nightmare to their MNC counterparts. The market potential is big and can accommodate everyone. There is space for the Nano as well as the BMW, the roadside idli shop as well as the KFC. Small retailers who deliver quality grow consistently, in spite of the presence of domestic giants. No matter who enters the market, quality and reliability with fair price will always succeed.
J. Richard Jonathan,
Are we not living in a global village? A mixed economy India starves for investment across the board. Foreign companies can be a source if they are made to operate under some conditions. With proper checks and balances in place, the transition will be less painful, if not smooth. Let us take the bull by its horns and prove our strength.
A. Victor Frank,
Let me remind my countrymen of the hue and cry that was raised when the automatic traffic signal system was introduced. Today, in each traffic island, we find more traffic constables than we did earlier. They are free from the drudgery of manual traffic regulation and perform better regulatory and control activity.
When FDI is allowed in retail trade, the regulated employment potential for our educated youth, who are disgruntled in the absence of gainful employment, will expand manifold. Good quality groceries will become available to the general public. Protesting traders should look at the decision as an opportunity to modernise trade.
The article “No space of her own for the daughter-in-law,” (Open Page, Nov. 27) appears to be an outburst of a daughter-in-law whose dreams of a happy, married life have been shattered by her mother-in-law. It is well-written and interesting.
Whether or not the situation prevails in all homes, the theme is the basis for almost all television serials across the country. I am yet to see a serial which portrays a mother-in-law as a compassionate woman. Scenes of the daughter-in-law's physical and emotional torture are shown elaborately to invoke sympathy. Maybe real life mothers-in-law, on seeing such serials, feel their behaviour is normal.
No doubt the girls these days are better educated and better employed than the women of the previous generation. But it is also true that they are assertive and aggressive. They follow neither the western culture nor the Indian principles of family life. No one can bring about a sudden change in society. Only time can do it.
When the dowry system was prevalent, the prospective groom's mother made unreasonable demands, earning a bad name for herself. But, today, things have changed for the better. Yet the mother-in-law continues to be portrayed as a villain, thanks mainly to television serials.
A majority of old couples stay alone — the fortunate among them in foreign countries — and the daughter-in-law has enough space of her own. Divorces take place not because of the mother-in-law but because of mistrust, ego and the absence of give-and-take between husband and wife.
While I agree with a major part of the article, I also wish to point out that youngsters do their best to understand their in-laws and sort out issues that may strain their relationship. It is the inability of women to cope with the situation immediately after marriage that makes them possessive of their sons.
I strongly believe that if daughters-in-law are given some space, especially in the first two or three years of marriage, they will become as affectionate as daughters.
I wish to bring to the notice of the author that there are many women who instigate their daughters to separate their husbands from their parents. This is the other side of the coin.
It is important for the mothers of young men and women to display a mature outlook while handling their daughters/sons-in-law.
I am surprised that such a one-sided article was published in The Hindu . I don't know what the basis of the statement “I am not even talking about the infirm elders who have to stay with children. I am talking about financially well-off people who are healthy in mind and body and quite capable of living by themselves” is. It is not just money that keeps parents and children together.
Again, what does the author mean by “the really young bride of 14” of the past? Were women of the past generation not career-oriented, independent or financially stable? Don't we have plenty of women achievers among the present-day mothers-in-law?