Bandh to protest against FDI in retail costs Bangalore Rs90 crore
Published: Friday, Dec 2, 2011, 12:11 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
More than 200 traders from different parts of the city participated in the dharna on Thursday at the FKCCI office, protesting against the central government’s move to allow 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector.
JR Bangera, president, FKCCI, estimated that the state exchequer lost more than Rs90 crore as tax revenue because of traders’ strike on Thursday.At least 70% of this loss is from the Bangalore Urban & Rural districts alone, he added.
On the sidelines of the protest, he said the government should stop making illogical statements regarding the benefits of FDI in the retail sector. “Neither will the FDI bring in the 1.5 million jobs, nor reduce inflation. Our economy is not ready for FDI,” Bangera said. “Our retail markets are picking up. We are growing at a healthy rate. What is the need to bring in FDI?” he said.
Citing China as an example, Bangera said, “Before China allowed FDI in retail, they built roads, improved infrastructure, made sure that their small-scale industries were healthy, growing and well recognised. Power generation was excellent and was available at a low cost. In our country, the situation is the exact opposite,” he said.
“Here, we have people who are trying hard to make a living to get one square meal a day. FDI will displace millions of small-scale workers. What is the point in giving employment to a few hundred people when thousands are going to be affected by this?” he asked. “Many state governments have not even agreed to allow FDI in their respective states.”
Prakash Mandoth, founder president of the Jayanagar Trade Association, said, “If the government really wants to improve the retail sector, they should bring financial schemes to help the sector. Our resources are not being used efficiently. What we need is to develop our industries and not bring people from outside.”
Sajjan Raj Mehta, former president, Karnataka Hosiery and Garment Association, said, “This is a matter of our survival and this explains the enthusiastic response of the traders with regard to the bandh. Traders have responded to the bandh call by shutting shops willingly. About 20% of the Indian people directly or indirectly depend on traditional business for their livelihood.”
‘Will intensify agitation’
Mehta said there are plans to intensify the bandh in the coming days. “After Thursday’s day-long token agitation, the trading community plans to intensify the agitation as it is a matter of our survival,” he added.
Praveen Khandelwal, secretary, Confederation of All-India Traders, said the fact that so many willingly participated in the bandh showed the genuine concern of the people. “FDI in retail is a crucial issue. But the government’s decision is not substantiated with any logic,” he said, adding that the trade union is also planning to demand the formation of a joint task force, consisting of senior officials and stakeholders to suggest remedial measures.
KASSIA supports bandh
Even though the Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association did not participate in the bandh, they have expressed their displeasure towards the government’s move to allow FDI for retail sector. “We were not part of the bandh, but we know that in the long run, this move will adversely affect the small industries as well,” said Prakash Raikar, president, KASSIA.