Departmental Store replaced the small ‘neighbourhood’ retail outlets that had traditionally specialised in different consumer-goods. And Malls outbid Departmental Stores by buying consumer-goods at wholesale (heavily discounted) prices directly from the manufacturers/ authorised distributors, and then selling the same at prices which are less than the cost-price of the small ‘next-door’ retailer.
FDI-funded-Malls (obviously larger, multi-Brand Malls) will aim at selling foreign branded ‘consumer durable goods’, packaged foods and beverages etc to the Indian ‘middle class’, often with the help of ‘consumer-loans’ extended by foreign banks this is a circuitous route to ‘dumping’.
Except for the attraction of a reputed Brand-name, these electronic or electric goods fail to provide any real long-term advantage to Indian consumers over indigenously manufactured goods prices of foreign goods are highly deceptive in that repair-costs (after the ‘Warranty period’ is over) are approximately 75-100% of the price of new equipment; and even during the Warranty period, the cost of transportation of these goods to the ‘authorised Service Centre’ is prohibitive (many a times, no such Centre exists in the State in which you are using this product, or even in India) moreso, these Malls cease to play any role of mediator after they have sold these goods to you (the Mall asks you to contact the Manufacturer directly). And even if you approach a Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, this ‘redressal authority’ fails to find any ‘Company-Representative’ in India upon whom to ‘serve’ its Notices nor can it find any ‘Company-Assets’ that it may attach in order to pay you any compensation at all.
The packaged food/ beverages use colourful and attractive-looking large packages that are, in fact, half-empty. Moreso, except for the foreign-made-stamp (a ‘style’ symbol or fad), the packaged items have no better nutritional value than what the raw indigenous ones have been giving you all these years except that some unscrupulous businessmen are adulterating the locally produced items.
How can then FDI-in-Retail lead to “growth” of Indian Economy?
The Central Government now claims that FDI will create 1 crore jobs, but fails to explain:-
How did the Government arrive at this figure?
How much ‘foreign’ Investment is expected into this Sector?
How many Malls will be opened?
What will be the size of each Mall in terms of, say, number of employees?
When the Government says that 30% of products sold in the Mall shall be purchased from the Indian Small-Scale-Sector, what does this figure refer to (i.e. the Unit of Measurement):
(i) value of goods stocked/ sold ?
(ii) number/ variety of products stocked/ sold?
iii) how will this number be calculated by clubbing the products under ‘generic’ heads, e.g. ‘cosmetics’ or ‘toiletries’ as single products each (or each type of cosmetics/ toiletries)?
How will the price of Indian farm-products, purchased by these Malls, determined will it be the Minimum-Support-Price already fixed for Government’s ‘Public Distribution System’, or will it be left to the ‘market forces’?
Who will determine and control the type and degree of ‘standardisation’ of these 30% products?
Who will bear the cost of ‘back-end’ improvement in these products?
There are many more such relevant questions that need be answered…
Every Welfare State, the World over, taxes the rich in order to finance schemes to empower the poor, but the UPA Government in India is indirectly taxing the hand-to-mouth lower-middle class and the modestly well-off upper middle class families by (i) removing subsidy from the LPG, (ii) allowing back-breaking price-rise in essential commodities, (iii) standing as a mute witness to rampant corruption (including the siphoning off by many politicians and bureaucrats into their own pockets, the Funds that were allocated for providing free food-grains, primary health etc to those living ‘Below Poverty Line’. The revenue earned from withdrawing subsidies from the poor, is being spent on subsidising air-travel of rich business tycoons by giving ‘bail-out’ Grants to the sick Indian career [Indian (airlines)] that has been rendered sick, in the first place, by corrupt and incompetent ‘public servants’. UPA Government pays out huge largesse (as ‘bail-out Grants’) to this career!
Moreso, Govt waives off the loans of rich Zamindars (‘feudal lords’) loans taken for their ‘ostentatious consumption’, out of the aforesaid revenue; whereas those who are committing suicides all over India are not these rich farmers (who are also exempted from paying any Income-Tax on their ‘Farm Incomes’ out which some of them have purchased limousines costing crores of rupees) but the poor ‘ryots’ who are landless-labourers and till Zamindars’ lands on ‘batai’ (crop-sharing’ basis). It is these peasants who make all the investment on the land though they get no ‘loan’ from the Nationalised Banks because the Banks demand a ‘security-deposit’ whereas the ryots have no land to ‘pawn’.
It is the rich who are growing richer under the wrong policies followed by this Govt, and such persons as are earning ‘easy-money’ out of bribes/ cheating/ piracy etc whose billowing incomes are being touted as ‘National GDP Growth’ it is to meet the demands for luxuries by these noveau riches that is fanning the desire of foreign firms to invest in India. How will the masses gain from an investment that is not meant for them?
The Author can generate, within one year and out of a modest budget, for the poor masses of Indian Nation what has not been achieved over the past 65 years by lakhs of bureaucrats who spent (or amassed for their own coffers) thousands of crores of rupees of ‘public moneys’!