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Panel discussion on FDI in Multi-brand Retail looks at benefits of reforms
Wednesday, 22 August, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
An exclusive panel discussion on ‘FDI in Multi-brand Retail and its Forecasted Implications on Indian Economy and the Agricultural Community on the Whole,’ was held at the India International Centre, New Delhi, on Tuesday.

Speaking at the discussion, Ajay Jakhar, chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj, threw light on the benefits that such a policy reform would entail. He said, “FDI will have a positive impact on the entire supply chain - from Farm to Fork, and will benefit all. Against the basic argument that kirana stores will perish if big organised retail behemoths set shops in India, the panel concluded that both the retail models will co-exist, just like unorganised retail co-exists with organised retail. Nowhere in the world did FDI in multi-brand retail toppled mom and pop locality stores.”

The Samaj conducted the seminar in association with Farmers Forum with an objective to know from the veterans within the industry on what they felt about the entire policy reform and the implications such a reform would have on consumers, farmers, indigenous industries and the economy as a whole.

The kirana store has an edge, “Home Delivery,” which foreign supermarkets cannot provide, no matter how much they try to, according to Dr Arpita Mukherjee, professor, ICRIER.

She added, “FDI will also bring in globally tested best practices from international retailers, ensure food hygiene, lower the use of harmful pesticides and fetch better price to farmers on agricultural produce. FDI in multi-brand retail will bring in a win-win situation for both countries. American retail giants will earn revenue and India’s largest sector will be open for employment and create jobs.”

Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general, Confederation of All India Traders, opined that since Independence in 1947, traditional retail contributed to 15% of GDP and FDI would only have a marginal impact on the agrarian economy.

Rajinder Kumar Sharma, chairman, APMC, contended that if FDI in multi-brand retail was allowed only 2% to 5% of people would be benefited but nobody would ‘lose anything.’ Moreover, FDI will magnify the market for farmers and thus will better their lot, according to him.

The panel concluded that India needed to better a lot of things internally, like infrastructure and supply chain rather than indispensably depending on FDI.
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