Has Political Opposition in India bungled up by taking issue of FDI in Retail rather than keeping th
by Amit Bhushan
Category Governmental Policies


Has Political Opposition in India bungled up by taking issue of FDI in Retail rather than keeping the ‘Coal’ fires burning?
By : Amit Bhushan Date: 23/09/2012
With burning ‘coal’, an active Supreme court hauling up the telecom mess created by the government and still unsettled ‘Games’ scandal; the political opposition had almost caught the government by its ‘goitee’ and was looking capable to almost run them aground. The spin-masters of the political parties swung into action and took their most nerve-racking decisions such as balancing politically sublime subsidies in fuel sector, a ‘Retail FDI’ decision (billed as the most controversial of it’s till date decisions) and disinvestment in some of the government controlled companies.  
The opposition believes that opening FDI in retail in some 50-55 odd cities in India will cast a bad spell on India’s 50 million people dependent on Retail to meet their daily bread and butter. Even by applying most sympathetic attitude towards opposition’s argument, they would still not be able to sound convincing even to their own ilk. This would at best affect the big bulk buyers who would now have to compete with the large MNC buyers to get widgets cheaper so that they can make these goods available to their customers cheaply. The neighborhood retailer, who has survived by cultivating the ‘ordinary consumers’ and have limited ambition would be able to restructure to find their niches and would survive. Even here, the provincial governments would have a role to control by not allowing MNCs into cities within their territory. In such a scenario, it would be challenging to get Wal-Marts of the world to invest for developing a local supply chain (some USD 100 million is expected from such retailers on this count) rather than crying hoarse over ‘Death’ of your friendly neighborhood retailer.    
So, the political parties walking out of government on the issue as well as the politicians who lost focus from burning ‘coals’ and got clouded with the ‘big bang reforms’ that is ‘supposed to arrest the economic downfall’ have indeed messed up and in a big way. Some of them are crying hoarse that the reforms have been done under pressure of the Rating agencies threats should know that such measures may bring a temporary respite from the agencies, however concrete actions need to taken to avoid a loss of ratings and such actions may not even fit their bill.
The political leaders of the opposition may need to assemble their energies to corner the government over issues such as improper distribution of resources, fallacies in government policies and lack of action on the ‘Games’ and follow up on the legal proceedings closely over Telecom and Coal. It should support the courts to take up the job of ‘Effective opposition’ since their lack of unity has already been exposed to the public. They have also failed to show themselves as matured to govern by messing up on measuring impact of government decisions and stoking emotions which may have been unnecessary.