Keeping up with its pre-poll agendas and promises for the last two weeks by taking quick steps against burning issues being hyped by the party as ’13 steps on 13 issues in 13 days’, AAP has now gone a step further to ban multi-brand retail thus cementing its claim of being the same as any other regular political outfit. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) received a formal letter from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government in Delhi disapproving the setting up of Foreign Direct Investment-funded multi-brand retail stores in the state which has made Delhi the first one to withdraw its approval.
The decision came on the backdrop of an election promise of the Kejriwal-led AAP more than a year after the Centre had eased norms that had armed the state governments with the power to allow or prohibit FDI upto 51% in multi-brand retail stores. This move of rolling back the decision and ban the foreign retail chains in Delhi is surely going to disrupt the realisation of the policy taken up to attract billions of dollars to stimulate economic growth in a not-so-bright scenario.
Actually, the ban on FDI in multi-brand retail is a decision taken up by a section of politicians seeking to play with a certain vote bank belonging to the rich traders, who are largely BJP sympathizers and has also contributed generously to the party funds (about 192 crores in 2013 as released by the party). On the other hand, some other politicians preached the ogre that the livelihoods of the small traders would get crushed if foreign investment is allowed.
But the reality is much different with smaller traders continuing to flourish alongside Indian multi-brand retails run by the giants like Reliance, Goenkas and Birlas, only to name a few. What’s more interesting is that they have learnt to adapt themselves to the changing environment by offering services like free doorstep delivery which are not even offered by the large retail chains.
The policy of direct sourcing is in vague with the large retail chains thus lowering their overall cost. A well thought-off practice in this domain could benefit the farmers by shrugging off profiteering middlemen from the supply chain. The government should mandate the only safeguard of sourcing at minimum support prices, which is announced at regular intervals. Sadly, this regressive measure would not let FDI to materialise in Delhi as an estimate reveals that the Delhi-NCR region alone has the potential to attract FDI worth $ 50 billion in the next five-six years.
Significantly, entry of foreign retailers would be a boon for India as it would create for jobs against the high rate of unemployment in the country and create a healthier investment climate, aimed to drive growth through a tough economic scenario and that’s what AAP as well as any other party should really be concerned about. Job creation, which should form the core of all poll promises, would actually deliver a better life for the citizens who the AAP claims to represent. But, till now, none has attached prime importance to this issue and AAP has also followed the bandwagon thus crushing the expectations of the educated millions of this country.