Nov. 28 - Traders protest over a bill passed by the Indian government to throw open its $450 billion retail market to global supermarket giants. Hayley Platt reports.
Traders in India come out in protest. There's growing anger about the governments decision to open the country's retail market to foreign global chains. The move announced last week will allow supermarket giants like Tesco and Wal-Mart to set-up shop in India for the first time. Currently they can only sell their merchandise wholesale and not directly to customers. But many retailers oppose the plans. SOUNDBITE: Vinod Gupta, protestor, saying (Hindi): "If companies like Wal-Mart come in our country then the business of our traders will get ruined." India's retail market is worth $450 billion dollars. It's coalition government the new reform will pave the way to create millions of new jobs and help food producers. Congress leader, Beni Prasad is one of those who voted in favour of the bill. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) BENI PRASAD, A CONGRESS LEADER, SAYING: "Today the farmers are being looted. There is widespread looting in the sale of products like rice, wheat and potatoes and other vegetables. After the FDI bill, cold storages will be built and the farmers will get good money for their products, so why is there opposition against this bill?" But members of the opposition fear letting in the multi-nationals will squeeze our India's smaller traders and drive down prices paid to farmers. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) RAGHUVANSH PRASAD SINGH, A LAWMAKER AND MEMBER OF THE REGIONAL RASHTRIYA JANATA DAL, SAYING: "What will now happen to those poor people who sell vegetables to earn their living? This is a very mad move and we will oppose it till the end." The new bill will allow foreign retailers to take stakes of up to 51 percent in supermarkets and attract much needed capital from abroad. Manu Ghai, an analyst with Planet Retail says there will be many who benefit. SOUNDBITE: Manu Ghai, retail analyst, Planet Retail, saying (English): "It's going to be good for the likes of international retailers to invest more money, get more ownership, manage their own staff and it's going to be good for the traditional retailers as well." But a number of political parties opposed to the bill have vowed to use this week's parliamentary session to force the government to do a u-turn. Hayley Platt Reuters.