Posted by: nikhilsardana | April 2, 2008

Furore over Retail – Is it justified ?

A 5 billion dollar investment is all it takes to wash out the middle class of India.Well YES, you’re right … , I am going to begin with the Reliance story .. The times of India on 23rd August’07 read ‘ Big retailers asked to close shop in UP’, on Sept 6 2007 it read ‘Reliance Fresh stores in Ranchi and Indore attacked’. Furor according to the Oxford Dictionary means an uproar, rage, hue and cry.So I’d like to ask you all …

Would you remain sitting if someone hurt your bread and butter? Would you let your lifestyle be effected without putting up a fight? Would you be able to sleep at night if you knew that your pocket would not allow your children to go to school next morning? No …. And nor will the 150 million strong trader class of India.

In a foretaste of what could happen when it starts operations next year, some 300 wholesale middle-men and street vendors armed with bamboo sticks last Saturday raided three stores run by reliance retail, the country’s fastest growing supermarket chain. Claiming that the stores were killing their jobs, they smashed windows and broke down doors.Personally I don’t sympathize with the Reliance Group.

Moving on from reliance though…

This ‘retail boom’ as they call it with Bharti-Walmart, Future Group, Spencer’s already or on the verge of entering the market is only going to cause further issues for the government to tackle. The jobs available over the next two years as boasted by the ‘retail ventures’ are close to 2 millions. Well I’ll say only 2 million considering the fact that MGI (Mc Kinsey Global Institute) announced in their report on India that if the retail agenda is allowed to go ahead it will displace over 40 million jobs. Now I would like you to decide if it will cover the millions, which will remain homeless. Who’s going to recruit them? No one …

India harps over, reducing poverty, improving living conditions and making education compulsory. With the middle class being deprived of their jobs and businesses, where are they heading towards? What is the government doing to protect the masses? What steps are being taken to cater to their grievances? Are we killing the youth of India. ??????

I for one totally believe that the vandalism, aggression and anger is justified after all that is what s going to happen when you touch the raw nerve. Such moves will naturally send a surge of rage and fury amongst the masses and will cause their blood to boil.

India can only become a globalised superpower if every tier of society is used to its fullest potential .You have to take the majority’s interests into consideration. With millions of people who will be left with no shelter and no food, the ‘Fight Poverty’ agenda will again be a lost battle of the government in power.

Criminal activities will rise, drug addiction will peak and alcoholism will be unbeatable … Lives will be shattered.

With so many millions losing their source of income, the purchasing power of many will reduce to such levels, that it may even throw our economy into the doldrums.You cannot snatch away the future of the masses so ruthlessly .It is inhumane to take away their right to life …I rest my Case!!!



  1. Vandalism in any form cannot be glorified!!!Nevertheless since we are talking here about the retail sector, I wouldn’t deny that there is millions of jobs at stake from the unorganised sector, but remember, the market does need to get organised. This is a fact of life. If you remember from your classes, India had a closed economy believing in Import substitution. Eventually what happened? We had to go join the WTO and open our markets not just to the private players but to global players as well.
    Now, getting malls into retail framework is a different story altogether but the shakeouts will take care of alot of discrepancies in the retail arena. You have to let them coexist, you cant forever be buying vegetable from a roadside vendor…

  2. Retail is undeniably one of the fastest growing sectors , at 30- 35 per cent a year . It happens to be the second largest employer after agriculture . Looking at the statistics it is important for us to understand that it gives employment to 50 million people across the country . The small time Kiryana stores would join scores of other bigger outlets like Relaince or the Aditya Birla Group. We must cannot overlook that retail is the mother of all industries because every single product converges in a retail store to reach the customer . No doubt this industry is in the nascent stage , over a period of time the Indian consumer is likely to mature and cash in on this resource scarce and opportunity rich area . But definitely the furore is not justified !!!!!

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