No sensible citizen has ever elected companies run by a few greedy private profiteers, to lead and manage public resources owned by communities. Economic benefits of smart commerce may be felt in some cities but its social effects will be a death knell to rural farmers, honest non-bhakts and small-town retailers which do not have a safety net to fall back on as we’re becoming an anti-welfare capitalistic economy. Infrastructure is an area where more foreign ownership could be allowed, if consumer interests are guaranteed. But it will likely be a long wait for foreign companies wanting to enter with a direct controlling stake in retail, social, legal, political or even parliamentary services!
Event in its home turf (New York the Democratic city) Wal-Marts and Tech-Smarts are facing big challenges both from lawmakers and from unions who accuse the scaling monsters of endangering small businesses, poisoning business practices and mistreating its non-conforming workers. Back in India, opposition asks government to clarify its stand on the issue by making policy announcements. Why is the government so slavishly looking at foreign investment in sectors like retail or basic utilities for answers to problems created by its own mismanagement of the economy such as inflation, price rise, corruption, smart loot and unemployment? If selling govt assets is only option left, why not handover even political power to so-called well-organized western crocodiles if these PR hungry ministers are incapable of setting things right in its own waters. Move back to west-colony owned by east-branded companies!
Weakest link in retail is the distribution system. But should every inefficiency be solved by selling public assets (to private election funders) given that there are many inefficiencies across sectors – public & private. Inefficiency in our retail system seems to be the main excuse of retail companies who dreams of making bumper profits and they all seem to be on a fishing expedition. Investors that manages to develop an approach to the complex Indian retail market meeting all requirements would demonstrate great interest and significant investment, but its long-term affects no one predicts with accuracy or responsibility, so private Flip-Flopping is strategic for big parties, keeping issues unresolved is very lucrative marketing.
On the other hand one can argue that investments in retail is not allowed because it does not serve the purpose of the corrupt bureaucrats and politicians. The Mandi Samitis or wholesale markets where farmers have to necessarily sell their produce are big money-spinners for the power gamer. Since agricultural income is not taxed, people having loads of black money (mostly Govt. officials, politicians and their chelas) buy the receipts issued to farmers at a price. That then becomes a proof of their farm income even though their farm houses are merely resorts for entertaining like minded people. That is why all corrupt people in India are also farmers, NOT vice-versa.
The grain procurement process is almost exclusively with the Food Corporation of India where corruption is fabled to have reached epic proportions right from under weighment to lower quality purchases and so on. The money-trail again flows to the super rich. That the aadhtees (middlemen) also get to make some money or the middle class pays through its nose for every meal are just the by-products of a corrupt and inefficient systems about which no one is really bothered. Since grand launch of these retail giants will only benefit a different class of bureaucrats and politicians (whose techie hands these companies will grease to get in) the lower levels of that same official or political bhakt engenders protests by retail traders and middlemen.
It remains an interesting fight between those with deep pockets and those who can create ruckus at the bottom of the pyramid for their own selfish gains. Its still unclear how will big supermarket chains such as Amazon, Flipkart, Walmart, JioShop etc.. do not affect small businesses. Moreover like its various other nationalistic confusions and disasters, the government never puts clear / transparent plans with potential results prior to marching with so-called openness for benefit of all. Otherwise the social effects will be catastrophic with a deadly blend of capitalistic corruption, black money, hidden inflation, workers unrest, unemployment and more…
The system is good if you have the right person or jugaadu at the helm. We don’t need new institutions, and we have great human resources, but often, looting leaders ensure their financial backers are given high government positions, contracts and benefits, rather than well-trained clean bureaucrats, non-bhakts and common service delivery personnel. Spin of Private Profiteering: When it rains, ChorBhakts enjoy the soothing breeze until the hanging earth closes to the sun and radiate hotter climate for commoners / small businesses.
Caution: The panel of company’s capital bhakts will always be doing genocidal survival licks for its official inter-party partners in plain corruption by hook or crook.