Thursday, December 01, 2011

Left rally again warned

Decision to allow FDI will further jeopardize economy
Rally also condemned Pb Govt’s welcome to the FDI  
Ludhiana//Kalyani Singh and Rector Kathuria// December 1, 2011
The district unit of Communist Party of India (CPI)  and CPI (M) held a rally at the Railway Station Ludhiana followed by demonstration to the Clock Tower Chowk to protest against the decision of the union cabinet to allow 51% FDI in retail as it is going to hit hard the small producer, trader as well as the consumer. This has been done at a time when the Parliament is in session and this decision has been taken without taking the Parliament into confidence. This is in complete violation of democratic principles. The reaction is obvious as not only the opposition or the UPA allies but a section of the congressmen have also opposed the decision. Various speakers addressing the rally warned that as per the latest reports the GDP  growth rate has further gone down belying all the claims of economic growth by the government; and rupee is continuously falling to its lowest ever. The decision to allow FDI in multi brand retail sector will further jeopardize the economy of our country. The speakers also condemned the Punjab Government’s welcome to the FDI when most of the states have opposed it. The international experience has shown that with the entry of these big players in the retail business the small businessman is hit hard as it is unable to compete with the big fish. Their sales have gone down in all such areas around the globe. In India 33-60% of the traditional fruit and vegetable retailers reported 15-30% decline in footfalls, 10-30% decline in sales and 20-30% decline in incomes across the cities of Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh, the largest impact being in Bangalore, which is one of the most supermarket penetrated cities in India.

There is also loss of jobs. The experience in Vietnam has shown that the supermarket expansion also leads to employment loss in the value chain as compared to 18 jobs created by a street vendor, 10 by a traditional retailer and eight by a shop vendor in Vietnam, a supermarket like Big C needed just four persons for the same volume of produce handled.

The small farmers will be hit as supermarkets will buy only ‘A ‘grade produce, that too on open market-based prices, and only a part of the output of farmers, who end up going to an APMC mandi to dispose of the remaining/rejected produce. Moreover there will be no commitment to buy regularly as they do not want to share the risk of growers. What is the guarantee that they will buy from the farmer at prices higher than they are being offered to them now?

So far as the role of FDI-driven food supermarkets in containing food inflation is concerned, the evidence from Latin American (Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina), African (Kenya, Madagascar) and Asian countries (Thailand, Vietnam, India) shows that the supermarket prices for fruits and vegetables and other basic foods were higher than those in traditional markets. Even if it is accepted that supermarkets are able to offer lower prices, the low-income households may face higher food prices because of reasons of distance from supermarkets, and higher prices charged by supermarkets in low-income areas. How will these super markets solve the problem of food security and security of livelihood of the peasants of our country the speakers asked?

Those who addressed the rally include Com Kartar Singh Bowani-Distrtict Secretary CPI, Com. Sukhwinder Sekhon-Secretary CPI(M), Dr Arun MitraCom O P Mehta – City Secretary, Com Jatinder Pal singh, Com Jagdish, Com Gulzar Gorea, Com Ramesh Ratan, Com. Vijay Kumar, Com Gurnam Sidhu, Com  Gurnam Gill, Com.Mewa Singh Raikot, Com Raghbir Singh Venipal, Com Tersem Jodhan, Sukhminder SinghRagbir Singh, Dev Raj, Amarjit Mattu, Sudey Singh, Manjit Singh, Mahinder Parsad Dubey

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