26 May 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 08/28/2007, 00.00


    War against supermarkets that destroy the economy of the poor

    Nirmala Carvalho

    In West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh the opening of new Reliance Retail supermarkets is met with violence. For many these big stores undermine India’s traditional small-scale economic operators. The large retail company temporarily shuts down its operations to better prepare to re-enter the market. Analyst tells AsiaNews that if the government does not defend the population, India’s economy will be destroyed.

    Kolkata (AsiaNews) – An Indian supermarket chain was forced to close its stores in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh a few hours after opening as a result of violent protests, clashes with police and appeals to local governments. Many in the local populations fear that this type of store would ruin the local farming sector and small-scale retail businesses.

    Reliance planned to invest some US$ 500 million opening more than 100 such supermarket stores, five distribution hubs and 14 collection centres across West Bengal, said company representative Raghu Pillai, but stores had to be shut down temporarily to protect the firm's properties and its employees.

    Although the biggest party in Bengal's ruling Communist coalition, the Communist party of India (Marxist), agreed to allow the stores to operate, one of its allies, the Forward Bloc, joined hands with opposition parties to oppose the plan.

    “This is a victory for the working class, the toiling peasants and the small traders involved with retail of agricultural products," said Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh.

    "More than 100,000 poor people in our state make a living from retail of agricultural products,” said Mamata Banerjee, leader of the state's main opposition Trinamul Congress party that also opposed the stores.

    Protests were even more violent in Uttar Pradesh. Last week, the government in this northern Indian state ordered the shutting down of 30 Reliance stores, citing reasons of law and order.

    The opening of 20 other Reliance stores in the city of Varanasi was also put on hold whilst the government reviewed the policy.

    According to the Industrialists' Association of Uttar Pradesh, traders will not allow retail chains to function.

    ''We are against the entry of Reliance and other big companies in the retail sector as it will directly affect about 40 million people in the state,'' a spokesman for the association said.

    Mr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, director of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights in Varanasi and 2007 Gwangju Prize laureate for Human Rights, told AsiaNews that “in states in which many poor people were involved in selling agricultural produce, corporate giants who opened large malls had a very bad impact on the economy and subsequently on the lives and dignity of the common man.”

    These corporate giants tend to reduce produce costs. Because of their huge economic resources they can set wholesale prices, create monopolies and impose their retail prices. Small producers are wiped out.

    This has two consequences: the elimination of small producers and retailers and the reduction of consumers’ purchasing power because suppliers will set monopolistic prices.

    India’s markets tend to be small-scale, people-based at both centre and periphery. Big retailers are anti-people, destroying the livelihoods of thousands of people without due consideration for their needs. They do not take into account changes taking place in the wider society which they do serve.

    Never the less, India's retail industry is expected to double in size by 2015. For this reason, both local and foreign companies are keen to enter the market. Currently about 3 per cent of India's market is organised retail, tiny compared with other large economies.

    Access to foreign retailers is hampered by laws restricting multi-brand retailers to cash-and-carry and franchise operations, affecting giant operators like Wal Mart, Mark & Spencer, Tesco and Carrefour, but analysts believe that obstacles will be eventually removed and soon.

    For Raghuvanshi, the problem is essentially political. There is a clash between two wills with the government siding with the strongest. On the long run, India’s internal market will be destroyed and this is not worrying anyone. It seems that no one is interested in preserving the interest of the Indian population.

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    11/06/2008 INDIA
    Education and learning against child exploitation, says Lenin Raghuvanshi
    On World Day against Child Labour, the Indian activist calls for better schooling for everyone as the only solution to the problem. Some 55 million children live in slave-like conditions, especially among the lowest castes of society.

    07/03/2012 INDIA
    Uttar Pradesh: Dalit-based party loses 'untouchable' vote in state elections
    For human rights activist Lenin Raghuvanshi, the defeat was expected. Socialist populist Samajwadi Party wins an absolute majority of seats. Rahul Gandhi's Congress party loses. Outgoing chief minister never fought to eliminate caste system.

    11/03/2017 15:22:00 INDIA
    Modi wins in Uttar Pradesh

    Vote counting began this morning. The latest update indicates he won 305 seats out of 403. The election is a referendum on the prime minister's policies, following demonetisation. Christian leader expresses concern about the aggressive policies of the Hindu nationalists.

    18/05/2010 INDIA
    Dantewada: Naxalite Maoists attack bus, killing 45 people
    Special police officers are among the killed. The attack, the second of its kind in just over a month, took place in Dantewada district (Chhattisgarh), some 400 kilometres from the state capital. Security forces are now on high alert in five states as Maoists today launch a 48-hour general strike to protest the government military offensive against them.

    11/05/2007 INDIA
    Uttar Pradesh elections: Mayawati, a Dalit woman, beats Mulayam
    In India’s most populated state (175 million people), the state-based Bahujan Samaj Party gets more than 50 per cent of the vote. Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party loses big. Discussions will start to form a coalition government as people comment the results.

    Editor's choices

    Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan

    During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.

    May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®