FDI in retail will leave consumers, traders suffering : CAIT

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The Central government's proposal to introduce FDI in the retail sector can spell doom for both consumers and traders as it will dry up the existing supply chain with foreign investors jacking up prices, exploiting the situation to their benefit, according to a top official of a traders body.

"Consumers and traders will be at the receiving end if the UPA decides to introduce FDI in the retail sector. The international traders never face genuine competition in the market but follow a policy of concentration of goods and dominance in the market," said B. C. Bhartia, national president of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).

"These FDI investors will put lot of money and also spend huge money. Obviously their expectations will be high. They jack up prices of commodities instead of selling goods at comparative rates and virtually compel consumers to take more quantity of goods and also compromise on quality," he told PTI.

With full control over supply chain, FDI investors will dry the existing chain (on which presently the traders are fully dependent) and exploit the situation to their benefit and thereby earning profits.

Since the FDI investors have a huge capacity of financial losses bearing capacity, they will virtually make the local traders to run for money, Bhartia, a professional Chartered Accountant with a background of family business in trading, said.

To a query on states exercising options not to accept FDI, Bhartia said FDI investors are known for acquisitions and mergers.

"They will in due course take over companies having operations or market presence in mutli states.By this route, they will automatically reach the 'no entry zones' or states not interested in FDI in retail sector," he said.

By adopting franchise models, these foreign trading firms will go to small towns and big villages since they can not enter there now as per the policy, he said.

On the stance taken by political parties on FDI, Bhartia said it was indeed Congress which had opposed FDI when BJP-led NDA wanted to bring it.

"Congress stood with the trading community and vehemently opposed NDA move," he said.

Also, the argument that these investments will bring job opportunities to unemployed youths is wrong.

Presently existing trading community is providing employment to thousands of youth but new policy will provide few jobs to English speaking youths in multinational companies.

The existing persons may be displaced with the new FDI investments, Bhartia added.

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