India: Millions Protest Over Supermarket Plans
There have been huge protests across India over government plans to allow multi-national retailers to set up shop.
Millions of people have taken to the streets to vent their anger over a move which could see the likes of Tesco, Carrefour and Walmart entering the lucrative Indian market.
Opposition parties claim the law will tear apart the country's social fabric.
India is a nation of small shopkeepers and farmers and it is feared they would be put out of business by the new liberalisation law called Foreign Direct Investment.
Shaina NC, a member of the opposition Bhartiya Janata Party, says FDI will slowly strangle small business.
"The question is whether FDI (foreign direct investment) stands for foreign destruction of India, whether it's looting the common man and the middle class, how the five core traders are going to be completely displaced."
But pro-business groups claim that is nonsense.
Growth in the Indian economy has slowed dramatically and foreign investment is vital if the country is to move forward.
For example, 30% of the fruit and vegetables in India rot before they reach the consumer. Big business would, it is argued, change that by bringing in investment and technical know-how such as better transportation and refrigeration.
India's legions of shopkeepers are unconvinced.
Surinder Dua runs a small clothes shop with his sons. He believes big supermarkets will be bad for business. "I am just small they have the power and the money, we will not survive."
The government though is determined to push through with its reforms which will allow foreign retailers to own a 51% stake in a business in India.
The UK supermarket giant Tesco is cautiously optimistic.
It told Sky News: "Tesco welcomes this positive development but we await further detail on the conditions. We already have a successful franchise arrangement with Tata's Star Bazaar stores and we are hopeful that this development will allow more Indian consumers, businesses and communities to benefit from world-class retail investment."
But much of the public opinion in India is against FDI with the trade unions and opposition parties saying they will continue to strike and protest until the government backs down.
That has happened before.
In November, the Congress-led government introduced the same laws, only to overturn them in the face of widespread anger.
The big retailers are now watching this space very closely.
what do you think?
Don't blame them. tesco are not very poplar here either.
Windows Live User
At least India is willing to do something about them
Customer complaints should be dealt with in BRITISH call centres. . . See how they like it!
Do you know, we average about 4 cold callers a day from India!
Why the negative,...it's a fact!
Windows Live User
India is a nation of small shopkeepers. We were too until the arrival of Tesco et al
Would this be one of the reasons we have been giving millions to India
Good shout! ...makes you think!:-/
I think it would be a good thing, ....but I don't know why, lol!
Steven James Foulds
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
Oh calm down, stevie boy! I was thinking for the ones that don't work in call centres, it would create jobs for them! :-)......and don't forget there are always the blue n white brands, always a bonus! Lol!.......(reel em in!") lol!
If this happens it's the death knell for small businesses in India, just as its been in the UK because their not happy just supplying food, they want it all. Then they start filling the shelves and replacing the manufacturing of the country with Made in China.All consumers and suppliers will be worse off, we all know their greed for excessive profit will see prices rocket.
No you won't survive if you allow the big corporations in, they will bleed you dry like they are doing to us, and their produce is rubbish, keep them out.
Just think what they could do with their Tesco reward points.....swop 20 points for a wash in clean water. (rather than the Ganges)
India is a nation of small shopkeepers and farmers and it is feared they would be put out of business. What about all the call centres in india different storey when they were taking jobs out of the uk?