Retail Politics!

Article first published as Retail Politics! on Technorati.

 The Indian parliament began its winter session on November 22, 2011 and so far it could not function even for one day. That is say the supreme constitutional body was not allowed to function by the opposition political parties.

First was the issue of the continuous price rise despite the fact the inflation rate had been showing a declining trend for the last three weeks. Then there were issues of bringing back the black money deposited in foreign banks and other regional tangles.

The first week was guillotined on these issues. Before the second week started the Indian Government announced a 51% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) package thus opening up the very attractive multi-brand Indian retail market for international players like Wal-Mart and others. The opposition parties including coalition allies of the government got another sought-after excuse to go on disrupting the Parliament.

The opposition political parties always brand themselves as the eternal service providers of the masses or the common people and in everything they do they do mention this underlying justification.
Problem is they never want to engage in a fruitful debate. It is very clear that they know little of economics and less FDI related angles. They are ably supported by the equally ignorant masses on such issues. Learned opposition is blissfully absent in this country.

While announcing the FDI initiative the government described how this was going to help the small consumers and farmers; how this was going to create more employment opportunities; and that the interest of the local small retailers was also being taken into proper consideration.
Of course, there could be defects in the policy that might hurt the country’s interest badly. For this a healthy debate is necessary and definitely not the politics.

The so-called mass leaders are only focused on getting more and more votes to finally defeat the ruling party in the next general elections. Knowing fully well that crucial Bills have to be passed in the current session they still block the way. They support Team Anna on its fight against corruption, but do nothing to help Parliament pass it its Bill. Their political strategy is clear—block all the Bills including the anti-corruption one from being passed, extend support to Team Anna’s next agitation since the Bill will not be passed and target the government continuously cornering it from all possible sides.
The political leaders take on the ‘retail’ naturally because they always seem to miss the ‘whole’.

The Prime Minister of India chairs an all party meeting today to find a way out of the logjam. The opposition parties are adamant on total roll back. 


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