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What humbug about retail & other reforms
Issue Date - 22/12/2011
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Now let us take up the rant by opponents of FDI in retail that it will destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of mom and pop stores in India. It has been so many years since retail chains like Big Bazaar, Reliance, Spencer and Easyday have been around. Have they made even a dent in the livelihoods of mom and pop stores. Giants like Wal Mart need to set up huge hyper markets to realize economies of scale; often in so called suburbs because of real estate costs. How many Indian families will pick up their cars, drive through tens of kilometers of jams, fight for non existent parking and then stock up for the month. Or do you think the lower middle class in India will carry huge shopping bags and take public transport to these hyper markets? Most Indian consumers simply do not have the incomes to do bulk shopping. Many are crucially dependent on the ‘credit’ offered by the local kirana that is settled every month or so. Do you really think Wal Mart will start home delivery of one litre of milk, one packet of bread and a pack of Maggi, and that too on credit?

Wake up guys. The entry of FDI in retail will not miraculously transform India into a more efficient and pulsating economy. Nor will it spell doom for India and Indians. The cruel fact is: without key reforms in infrastructure-both physical like power generation and social like universal education-the entry of retail giants will hardly make a difference to the lives of hundreds of millions of Indians who need to move from poverty to lower middle class. So please stop bull……ing and focus on the real issues.


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