Is there any one sincerey and honestly concerned about common man’s welfare; with the aspiration of the nation? Is there any leader or party who would wish to propel Indians into the third millennium? The provincial level political parties are but a desperate group only with the throne of Delhi in mind. Well that’s democracy.
All those Indian political gurus and economists opposing the FDI in retail must visit my small island Republic of Mauritius and discover for themselves the changes brought into the lifestyle of the poor segment of the society and the environment at large. More so in hygiene…...of life!
I shall dwell not on a long prescription or on the merits of globalization or on the demise of the traditional shops or lament on the failures of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal taking the population backwards. Remember the Tatas episode.
There is nothing permanent in life. In India and Indian society there is one exception. Caste is permanent. I can understand the resistance to change. FDI in retail will bring people from all backgrounds rubbing shoulders together. A blow to Brahminism!
It would though not eliminate the caste divide. Hindus are hierarchical. It shall continue to persist for many reasons. However, the organized retail sector shall definitely benefit everyone. It will bring different people from different backgrounds together rubbing shoulders. Which the neo - Brahminism does not want?
First, in our small place, it has provided decent regulated employment to thousands of young men and women at various levels and the interaction has narrowed the caste divide and resulted in many love stories and marriages across the lines. They dress up smartly in smart uniforms provided by the establishments; develop new clinical language with smiles and cheerfulness glowing on the cheeks, greeting customers with courtesy and politeness and taking home newly acquired social skills shared by their families and society.
Second, the Super and Hyper markets have generated demands for fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy products, poultry, mutton, fish et al, buying directly from the producers on regular basis or from supply chains who in turn have created thousands of jobs with emphasis on quality. The agriculture in turn is providing sustainable employment. Even marginal lands have found a vocation.
Third, cottage industry which was dying a slow death has received a new lease of life with demands for their produce and ancestral recipes finding a prominent place of display on the shelves. Fourth, contractors and subcontractors in various areas have found new hopes and opportunities. A new breed of entrepreneurs from the lower level has emerged!
Fifth, there has emerged a cut throat competition with continuous promotional campaigns on thousands of items of current use benefiting every consumer.
Does the political leadership want to change the socio-economic landscape of India towards a more egalitarian society or do they want to drive India back into deprivation and backwardness besides keeping the social divides intact? It is for the authorities to lay the terms and conditions as regards the priorities that the local produce should be given!
Go to South hall in London; see for yourself how the corner shops owned by Indians have managed to survive the onslaught of organized super and hypermarkets.
(About the Author: Atma Doolooa, a Mauritian of Indian origin, is a political analyst and businessman. He has authored books, Castes In Mauritius -The Future of Indians and Hinduism, & The Dirty Indian)