Vol. 5, Issue 2 (2019)
This paper discusses the issues like impact of FDI on Indian retail market and to find out the entry options for foreign players prior to FDI policy. Liberalization of trade policies during the last one and half decade has led India to become an investment friendly country. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in this country assumed critical importance in the context of this liberalization. Though India is the tenth most industrialized country in the world, it is well known that it is mainly agro-based with around 70% population engaged in the farm sector. However, in the initial stage of liberalization, FDI was centred on the urban manufacturing sectors because of its civic infrastructure, labour availability, flexible taxation mechanism etc. The success story of FDI in these sectors is known to us. For a long time, there were efforts for FDI in the retail sector so that the trader can reap the benefit of FDI. Retail trade contributes around 10-11% of India’s GDP and currently employs over 4 crores of people. Recently, a great debate has cropped up against the government plans for FDI in the Indian retail sector. FDI in retail is fundamentally different from that in manufacturing. FDI in manufacturing basically enhances the productive employment in most cases; but FDI in retail trade may create job losses and displacement of traditional supply chain. One of the main features of rural India is disguised unemployment. Farmers, evicted from the agricultural sector, engage in small retail trades for livelihood. The main fear of FDI in retail trade is that it will certainly disrupt the livelihood of the poor people engaged in this trade. The opening of big markets or foreign-sponsored departmental outlets will not necessarily absorb them; rather they may try to establish the monopoly power in the country. However, so many positive factors are also there in favour of FDI in Indian retail service.
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