'FDI in multi-brand retail to force traders to take the extreme step' | SupportBiz


'FDI in multi-brand retail to force traders to take the extreme step'

India’s decision to allow foreign direct investment, to the tune of 51 percent, into multi-brand retail could serve a death knell to five crore traders, and their families, whose livelihoods are at stake because of this one government decision, according to the national traders’ body.

Some 25 crore Indians stand affected when FDI makes its way into multi-brand retail, said Shyam Bihari Mishra, president, Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (BUVM). “The government claims FDI in retail can generate 80 lakh jobs countrywide. But it forgets that FDI threatens the livelihood of four to five crore traders. How is FDI in multi-brand retail justified if it does more harm than good?” Mishra said.

Traders, Mishra included, could be forced to take the extreme step when FDI enters the retail industry, the BUVM president said in a telephonic interview with SupportBiz on Friday.

The Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal’s call for a nation-wide shutdown to protest the government’s decision was a success. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), an industry lobby, estimates the economic loss to the country, from Thursday’s strike, to be in excess of $2 billion, according to news reports. “The economic loss to the nation from FDI in multi-brand retail could be even higher,” Mishra said.

“Small traders across India, and several political parties, are with us in this fight against foreign invasion,” Mishra said. BUVM will meet later this month in the national capital to chalk out a strategy to take the agitation forward, Mishra said.

India does not need foreign investments or foreign investor-support to setup cold storage facilities in the hinterland, said Mishra. “Give traders the money and we can create quality infrastructure across rural India,”  

“Our traders know how to transport and sell goods, across the length and breadth of the country. Economists who argue that FDI in multi-brand retail could help India fight the economic slowdown forget about all the black money stashed away in foreign bank accounts. That money should have been in circulation but is locked up elsewhere.

“This government has several noted economists. We urge them to focus their energies on bringing back all the black money. It is all we need in India to take care of the deficit. But the government behaves like its hands are tied,” Mishra said.