This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Big Battle On FDI In Retail Explained: Analysis

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Anvita Shukla:

On 14th September 2012 Central Government of India allowed upto 51% FDI in Indian Retail market, subject to approvals by Indian States. While this move is being welcomed by many, several political parties are opposing it vehemently. Here is a look into what this relaxation in FDI promises, and threats that it has for Indian economy.

FDI in retail market has thrown some serious concerns, and sparked agitations nationwide. Retailing in India is one of the pillars of its economy and accounts for 14 to 15 percent of its GDP , and India happens to be the fastest growing retail market of the world. This makes our country an investment paradise for huge retail chain owners.

The government, constantly being accused of a policy paralysis, has tried to lure the public into promises of growth the FDI in retail would make. These promises include, a speedy economic growth, recovery of GDPI which has been plummeting from a couple of quarters, improvement in falling value of rupee, and reversing an economic slowdown. Middle class of India believes FDI in retail would be a bold step in economic reforms. This strata of society largely believes that advent of store chains like Walmart in the retail market would change the way a common Indian shops. In the coming times an average Indian would experience lower prices of commodities, organized shopping with world class facilities, millions of jobs for youngsters in the country, and inflation would be curbed.

Experts claim that lack of retail experience and capability has been one of the primary reasons for subdued growth in this industry. FDI in retail will make way for inflow of knowledge from international experts which can boost the overall growth of the industry. Experts also say that this step would improve the management of supply chain, improve the productivity of food and agriculture in our country, and increase the investment in retail sector. It is also being expected that cold storage infrastructure will become economically viable only when there is strong and contractually binding demand from organized retail.

But grass root activists and several political leaders have very different opinion about FDI. What most experts and middle class Indian seem to forget or not realize is that retail industry is not a mere form of business in India. It is a mean of livelihood for several people who have not been able to secure a proper job. When store chains like Walmart pose a threat to our domestic retail chains like Pantaloons, Reliance Fresh etc., it might sweep off the local retailers from the entire market. FDI promises to create around 2 million jobs in the country whereas India’s retail and logistics industry already employs about 40 million Indians, many of whom stand a threat of losing their jobs.

Another factor is the monopoly of big brands on the Indian market. FDI would have a huge impact on the sale and profit margin of Indian farmers. Government has laid down the guideline that the single brand retailer must source 30 percent of its goods from India. Now reading the trends of market, chain-store owners have the tendency of overpowering the market and exercise monopoly. They would purchase 30% of their goods from the local farmer at whichever price they please as against today, where several traders have to compete with each other in order to buy the farmer’s produce. This will bring about greater dependence of farmers on the MNCs and they would be vulnerable to exploitation. Now we are already facing challenge of bridging the gap between Bhaarat and India, but FDI in retail might just widen it further. Talking about improvement in supply chain management, complains have been registered all across the world against the retail store chain owners about not paying their suppliers timely. Forget about any other country, retail chains like Walmart are facing a huge opposition from their own country. The following link talks about the high cost of low price which America has to pay for the flourishing business of Walmart.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar expressed his concerns on FDI in retail market. He said “here is a serious apprehension that the flow of organized foreign capital with its associated baggage of infrastructure, bulging financial power, professional managerial staffs etc, would sound the death knell for the Indian retailing sector. This will hike the rate of both unemployment and underemployment.” In the current scenario only 20% of the retail market is organized, the remaining 80% unorganized and in an extremely nascent stage of development. The entry of large global retailers would slowly but surely marginalize domestic retailers and in the long run kill local shops and millions of jobs.

The government has already passed the verdict and appears in no mood of rollback, Mamata Banerjee has withdrawn support, and other political parties have called in for a bharat bandh, we need to wait and watch the politicians decide the fate of retail industry in India.

You must be to comment.
  1. Pranjal

    it has brought in a lot of investment and job oppurtunities as well. But the concerns over exercising monopoly and also the unemployment for existing holds should be surely taken into consideration by the govenment . It must lay some ground rules for these retail shops to buy at certain minimum costs and these must be encouraged mainly in urban areas specially all metropolitan since there are a variety of customers who would benfit and opening a shop at one particular place wont much hamper the sales of other domestic and unorganised sector

    1. Anvita Shukla

      agree with you Pranjal

  2. Suyash Kumar Tiwari

    Well written article!.Good collection of data and numbers. Kudos.

    1. Anvita Shukla

      I am glad YOU liked it Suyash 🙂

  3. Hare Krishna Agrawal

    AFAIK, Walmart and it’s like do not threaten Pantaloons, Reliance Fresh,etc. Instead I believe these would benefit out of the FDI. This FDI will threaten the likes of local kirana stores mushrooming in every nook and cornere, who sell everything at MRP amd monopolise the area they operate out of. These arrogant retailers need to compete or perish. Survival of fittest is what will take us to next century.
    These multi-brand retailers need an Indian partner and I believe this is where these Indian retailers can pitch in and address concerns raised by many political parties.
    Everybody wants to shop in these super markets, I’m surprised why they fear Walmart, etc. I’m in support for FDI in retail.

    1. Anvita Shukla

      Hare this could be a viable approach in metros like banaglore, NCR etc.. However most of India which comprises of small towns, such an approach can simply uproot all retailers, and take away their jobs…

  4. Nitin Dutt

    Why do we always end up in FDI with Walmart, walmart is not the only retailer, we have Reliance etc these are also marts ofcourse Indian ones. We also had two automobile companies- Premier Padmini and Hindustan Motors, the government did a fine job in protecting these companies and what did we as Indians get- two outdated products against what we have today when we have several multinationals in India. Did the jobs lost at these two companies bothered us. Farmer will not benefit unless and until he gets organized and negotiates as one unit. The organization has done wonders for Amul.

    1. Anvita Shukla

      Nitin, let us not compare automobiles industry with retail sector. Automobiles is a technology driven area, where a good international technology will always be welcomed, whereas retail sector thrives on addressing the requirements of local people, and needs no extra rocket science to thrive. A big multi-store retailer and a local kirana shop owner might be equally able to cater to your demands.

  5. shailendra

    nobady do buisness fr loss n wat u think americans r mad to raise our indian economy r employment rate. british fallowed devide n rule, americans vl fallow destroy n rule method. first dey destroy d local retailer wit d low price den aftr dey vl rule india by having monopoly in buisness

    1. Anvita Shukla

      I agree and echo with most of your sentiments shailendra

  6. Rajesh V

    Retail might not be rocket science but it is a detailed business. The entire debate about FDI is largely based on emotions and half truths. While the livelihoods of the stand alone stores is used as an excuse, no one understands how they operate and why they can and most definitely will survive. They have unique cost advantages which is their competitive advantage. As an Indian Retail Expert, I would invite you to read these details posts regarding this topic –

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Surabhi Das

By Yahya Maghrab

By Spectruminsurance10

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below