Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced not to implement foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail and grocery sector in Madhya Pradesh. Shri Chouhan announced to oppose it with full might. He said that this is not a mere regional issue for him, but also a national issue. Shri Chouhan expressed these views on the topic “FDI ka virodh kyon: Videshi Dukan, Badlega Hindustan” (Why opposition to FDI: Foreign shop to change India) during TV debate organised by Aajtak channel under its programme “Aaj ka agenda” in New Delhi today. Shri Chouhan explained that he is not against FDI. He said that FDI is welcome in infrastructure development, construction of roads, airports and other development works. But we forcefully oppose it in retail and grocery trade. Shri Chouhan said that FDI will not be implemented in Madhya Pradesh in any case.
Shri Chouhan said that there should be a national consensus on introducing FDI in retail and grocery trade. For arriving at consensus on the issue, he stressed the need for mutual discussions between various political parties. Shri Chouhan reiterated his commitment to make efforts for improving farmers’ lot. Shri Chouhan described as imaginary the claim that FDI in retail trade will benefit farmers. The Chief Minister said that politics of vote should not be played on this issue and stressed the need to safeguard interests of every section.
Shri Chouhan informed that after agriculture, retail trade generates maximum employment in the country. Its contribution is 11 percent in country’s GDP. About 96 percent retail trade is in unorganised sector through which small traders like handcart pullers, street vendors, small time grocers and people selling good on footpaths earn their livelihood. He said about 1.50 crore people are associated with this sector in Madhya Pradesh alone and there are about 4 crore retail shops. The Chief Minister said that whenever a person fails to find job, he is able to earn livelihood by opening a small retail shop.
He said that China, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand are precedents of the countries where unemployment is increasing and traditional shops have been closed down due to FDI. He also doubted the claim that farmers will get direct benefit after removal of middlemen as a result of FDI. He said that middlemen are also Indians who have direct and easy access to products.
Shri Chouhan said that retail trade is still not considered a business in Madhya Pradesh since it is a bond between two parties. A trader knows the buyer, his needs, financial condition etc. while the buyer also knows about retailer. A bond of mutual trust exists between them. Chief Minister Shri Chouhan also apprehended that products’ prices will come down and local manufacturing industry will be close down due to introduction of FDI in retail trade.