The political tug-of-war over FDI in multi-brand retail has prompted moves of realpolitik by the UPA’s partners, both present and past. While West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee took the battle to Delhi, the TMC back home aimed a mighty blow and announced it would also oppose domestic investment in the retail sector in the state. From Big Bazaar, Reliance Fresh and Spencer’s to More and Pantaloons, there’s no shortage of organised retailers in West Bengal.
The proposal created a storm of indignation. Dancer Alokananda Ray, who is close to Mamata, says: “I don’t understand politics and I don’t know the pros and cons of FDI, but I know that as a citizen of Calcutta I can’t imagine our city would be deprived of modern amenities like organised retail outlets, which have made life so much more convenient.”
Breaking his silence since the Left defeat in the assembly polls, former state industry minister Nirupam Sen told Outlook that the TMC stance was “detrimental to the economic growth of Bengal”. Recalling how his efforts to bring Tata Motors was squashed by the TMC, Sen says, “The move to block not just FDI but domestic investment is going to plunge the state into further darkness and chase out all manner of investment”. Alarmed by the reaction, panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said that the recommendation will not become law in the near future.
Further south, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi issued a statement asking the PM to reconsider the FDI move. Quite simply, Karunanidhi has to advertise that he cannot be taken for granted and has to convey, also for possible future use, that he is not party to the Congress’s “anti-people” policies. He’s expected to let off steam, but not pull the plug. “Even if there is a vote on FDI, the government will not fall,” says political commentator Cho Ramaswamy.
By Dola Mitra and Pushpa Iyengar
The real opposition will be the reliances and Tatas of the retail market. Never mind the hysterical politicians - the kiranawallahs need not worry.
@ Male Unblocked, Chennai
You're wrong, Reliance, Tatas, Birlas, et al. are running their businesses on a loss and would love to rope in an international investor, so that th can cash out on a major stake of their un-profitable business, while gaining expertise and funding from abroad to turn it around (which is why they want to hold the other 50%). They are neither worried about the farmers nor are they into the business of building large cold-storages for common use (they will do it for their use). Further hen these retail chains grow and institutionalize themselves they will forma cartel depriving the farmer of the percentage of profit he currently enjoys. The picture will be rosy for the farmer for about 5-7 years after which he will be eased out due to the low margin and contracters of the retail chain will take over farming, thus establishing the contract farming systemin India. So the marginal and small farmers can bid goodbye to their vocation in 10 years time and move into the city land-less with a salaried job (when earlier he was his own master). It will be a new order making way for the old, but not benefitting the people necessarily. However, whether this is good or not, depends on the perspective of the person analysing this issue.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT