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FDI In Retail: No Black And White, Only Grey

Vir Sanghvi on how nothing about FDI is simple or uncomplicated:

If you watch TV, then you will believe that the government is trying to pass a proposal that will uniformly benefit millions of Indians and that the BJP, which has always supported this move, is simply being bloody-minded.

This kind of over-simplification has occurred before. When Manmohan Singh first pushed for the nuclear deal, he told us that it would transform India’s economy. Billions of dollars of foreign investment would come flooding in. He assured us that our energy problems would soon be over. And he guaranteed that we could count on US support for all our foreign policy initiatives.

Then, too, the media uncritically bought the government’s position. On the day that the Congress mustered enough support to win the no-confidence motion that had resulted from Manmohan’s obsession with the nuclear deal, one TV channel went so far as to compare this achievement with the liberalisation of 1991.

We know now that Manmohan’s promises amounted to nothing. Even though the nuclear deal was passed, nothing has really changed. There have been no improvements in the energy sector, no investment has come flooding in, and US foreign policy towards India has not significantly altered. Worse still, nobody in the media asks why this should be so. We have simply moved on to the next story.

The same sort of thing is happening with FDI in retail. I supported the nuclear deal even though I did not believe the exaggerated claims made for it. Similarly, I support FDI in retail. But I believe that many of the arguments advanced in its support are hollow.

Read the full piece: The FDI issues are more complex than the media may have led us to believe

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