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Retail convention oppose FDI
By d-sector Team

Concerned by the back-door lobbying of global retail giants to gain entry into Indian retail business, all stakeholders join hands to declare their fight against government proposal to allow FDI in retail.

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Consensus emerged at a day-long National Convention on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand Retail in India as participants from all sections of the retail sector today strongly warned the Government against such move which will prove to be a nightmare for Indian economy and detrimental to the domestic players affecting more than 5 crore small shop keepers and over 22 crore people employed directly or indirectly in the retail sector.

The FDI in Retail Trade is seriously considered to be much detrimental to the interest of not only retail traders but also of other sections of society including farming, cooperative, service sector in non-corporate enterprises etc and will lead to large scale unemployment, as besides agriculture, retail trade is the largest employment provider in India.

The Debate on FDI in Retail Sector was organized the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in association with more than 31 organisations of Traders, Farmers, Hawkers, Consumers etc. Leaders of different sectors of retail trade from all over the Country attended the Convention.

Participating in the debate, Dr. M.M. Joshi, BJP Leader, described the small farmers and small traders as the economic spinal cord of the country and FDI is the biggest root of corruption and its entry in India should be opposed with all might.

“Instead of inviting FDI in retail, the government should work out a comprehensive strategy to upgrade and modernize the existing retail trade which could meet all requirements of modern retailing and also to meet the global challenges in quality and competitive prices.”

Mr. Debvrat Biswas, MP, Forward Bloc, said our stakeholders are capable of setting up anything indigenously be it infrastructure or cold storages, then why allow multi-national companies like Wal-Mart and CarreFour to rule our independent systems run by farmers and traders.

Dr. Vandna Shiva, Environmentalist, said permitting FDI in retail sector will be a direct attack on the traders, farmers and consumers and starting of a new Inspector Raj.

Mr. Mohan Guruswami, Economist, mentioned that no industry will flourish after the entry of Wal-Mart as it will swallow the small time shops and traders because this MNC is a Chinese goods dealer. Its employment will go to China and profit to US.

Mr. R.S. Sodhi, MD, AMUL, cited the example of the cooperative nature of AMUL where 31 lakh farmers working together and reaping benefits collectively and suggested small cooperative shops in localities to serve better and easily reachable to consumers. If MNCs enter the country, employment of dignity will be vanished.

Mr. Vasudev Acharya, CPM, warned that permission to FDI in Retail means monopoly of MNCs on our retail trade. All should fight unitedly to oppose and discourage policy of UPA government to safeguard our dignity and freedom for trade.

India currently allows 51% FDI in single-brand retail and 100% in cash-and-carry stores that can only sell to other retailers and businesses.

The convention was of the unanimous view that “it will generate un-even level playing field. Let the Government re-structure the existing retail and furnish with benefits and concessions. We are ready to take on the Competition.”

India’s Employment Structure according to NSSO is Self Employed 51%, Regular Wage Employment 16% and Casual Labour 33%.

Speaking at the convention, various leaders of traders, farmers, hawkers and other sections said that “instead of inviting FDI in retail, the government should work out a comprehensive strategy to upgrade and modernize the existing retail trade which could meet all requirements of modernize retailing and also to meet the global challenges in quality and competitive prices.”

They further said that Indian economy is not a good generator of jobs as it creates only 17 lakh jobs a year, not adequate for our growth in population. Indian retail having little entry barriers and limited skills act as a safety valve.

Closure of small shops will lead to mass unemployment as MNC’s business model is “Buy Lowest-Sell Highest”.

The leaders also said that India’s Employment Structure according to NSSO is Self Employed 51%, Regular Wage Employment 16% and Casual Labour 33%.

“Up to a point, the consumer will be benefited. But once MNCs dominate, the consumers also become captive to them as their game is of Concentration and Domination,” added the leaders.

Participants included renowned economists, politicians, traders, stakeholders, farmers, consumers, labourers, hawkers, small-scale businessmen, transporters and leaders from cooperatives and social organizations.

At the end, the participants collectively issued a declaration to continue jointly working to launch a nationwide campaign against FDI in Retail and to hold seminar and meetings in each State countrywide. The delegations of stakeholders will meet the Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition both in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha as also the leaders of all political parties. These delegations will also meet Chief Ministers of different States.

A Joint Committee of all stakeholders will be constituted both at local, national and State levels to conduct the campaign in an organized manner.

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