22 February, 2012
Traders' Mass Demonstration at
Parliament against FDI in Retail
Thousands of traders from across India under the banner of Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal (BUVM) marched to parliament against Govt attempts to open up multi brand in retail sector for foreign direct investment. Traders of different states began the sit in protest at the Jantar Mantar from early morning and later marched to parliament. Protesters were stopped by police by barricades near the parliament street police station. The protest was led by Sri Shyam Bihari Mishra, ex MP and president of BUVM, Sri Manohar Lal Kumar, Chairman, BUVM Sri Kailash Gupta, National Convenor, BUVM and Sri T. Naziruddin, President, Kerala Vyapari Vyavsayi Ekopana Samiti. More than five thousands traders from Kerala under the banner of Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samiti participated in the march.
Addressing the rally, Sri Shyam Bihari Mishra said that the Govt. announced in the parliament that the decision on FDI in retail would be taken only after devel- oping a consensus. But, despite opposition from majority of states including Con- gress ruled states, central Govt. is trying to force the anti people agenda on the nation. Sri Mishra said that this is against the federal structure of our governance. Sri Mishra stated that the trading community will not accept this and would inten- sify its struggle against corporate take over of Indian retail and agriculture.
Sri Manohar Lal Kumar, Chairman, BUVM said that FDI backed retailers would hijack the intermediate level of our food supply chain endangering peoples right to access to food. Sri Kailash Gupta, National Convenor, BUVM said that Govt. raised the cap of FDi in single brand from 51% to 100% without taking into confidence states, parliamentarians and political parties. He blamed the govt. to wreck havoc in retail and agriculture.
Sri T. Naziruddin, President, Kerala Vyapari Vyavsayi Ekopana Samiti said that the Chief Minister of Kerala has announced not to implement FDI in multi brand retail in Kerala but the central govt. is not leaving this policy space for state chief minister. He demanded to respect the policy space of state chief ministers and peoples representatives.
Sri Vijay Prakash Jain, Secretary general, BUVM said that FDI in Retail would ruin small farmers, hawkers, cooperatives, consumers and transporters as well. Sri Jain demanded to simplify the licensing procedure for small traders to facilitate their livelihood. Traders leaders demanded that instead of favouring big domestic and foreign capital in the retail trade, the Govt. should fine tune the existing retail market by adopting appropriate policy framework to strengthen small businesses. They also demanded for an independent department under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for taking care of the internal trade.
Dharmendra Kumar, Director, India FDI Watch said that there is a huge democratic deficit in the trade policy making of India. This needs to be corrected and state govt., parliamentarians, stakeholders organizations need to be structured to strengthen the process of trade policy making. Sri Kumar said that FDI in retail is corporate compliant and without regulatory framework it could wreck havoc in the supply chain from farm to fork adversely impacting farmers, manufacturers, independent retailers and consumers.
Sri Mohan Gurnani, Kishore Khariwal, Md. Ali Patel from Maharashtra, Sri Babu Lal Gupta from Rajasthan, T. Velliyan from Tamil Nadu, Gopal Gangil from MP, Madan Lal Khurana from Himachal Pradesh, Prahlad Roy Khandelwal from Orrissa, T N Trivedi from West Bengal, Amrit lal Jain from Punjab, Sri Anil Bhatia, Roshan Lal Gupta, Vijay Gupta, Shiv Kumar Jain from Haryana, J S Sachdeva from Bihar, Sheetal Tandon from UP, Jayendra Tanna from Gujrat and Satish Agarwal from Andhra Pradesh led their contingent in the protest march.
Sri Pawan Kumar, Prem Kumar Arora, Sushil Goel, Rakesh Yadav, Suresh Bindal, Shyam Sunder Gupta, Om Kishan Gupta, Rajeev Agarwal, Satyendra Singh Chouhan, Suresh Kejriwal, Ravindra Goyal, Anil Jain, Hemant Gupta from Delhi actively participated in the march.
(Vijay Prakash Jain)