Human Resources/INTERNATIONAL MARKETING MANAGEMENT
1 Discuss about the impact of FDI in Indian Retail Industry.
2.Explain in detail the merits and demerits of
1.Discuss about the impact of FDI in Indian Retail Industry.
As per the current regulatory regime, retail trading (except under single-brand product retailing — FDI up to 51 per cent, under the Government route) is prohibited in India. Simply put, for a company to be able to get foreign funding, products sold by it to the general public should only be of a ‘single-brand’; this condition being in addition to a few other conditions to be adhered to. That explains why we do not have a Harrods in Delhi.
India being a signatory to World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services, which include wholesale and retailing services, had to open up the retail trade sector to foreign investment. There were initial reservations towards opening up of retail sector arising from fear of job losses, procurement from international market, competition and loss of entrepreneurial opportunities. However, the government in a series of moves has opened up the retail sector slowly to Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”). In 1997, FDI in cash and carry (wholesale) with 100 percent ownership was allowed under the Government approval route. It was brought under the automatic route in 2006. 51 percent investment in a single brand retail outlet was also permitted in 2006. FDI in Multi-Brand retailing is prohibited in India.
Definition of Retail
In 2004, The High Court of Delhi defined the term ‘retail’ as a sale for final consumption in contrast to a sale for further sale or processing (i.e. wholesale). A sale to the ultimate consumer.
Thus, retailing can be said to be the interface between the producer and the individual consumer buying for personal consumption. This excludes direct interface between the manufacturer and institutional buyers such as the government and other bulk customers Retailing is the last link that connects the individual consumer with the manufacturing and distribution chain. A retailer is involved in the act of selling goods to the individual consumer at a margin of profit.
Division of Retail Industry – Organised and Unorganised Retailing
The retail industry is mainly divided into:- 1) Organized and 2) Unorganized Retailing
Organized retailing refers to trading activities undertaken by licensed retailers, that is, those who are registered for sales tax, income tax, etc. These include the corporate-backed hypermarkets and retail chains, and also the privately owned large retail businesses.
Unorganized retailing, on the other hand, refers to the traditional formats of low-cost retailing, for example, the local kirana shops, owner manned general stores, paan/beedi shops, convenience stores, hand cart and pavement vendors, etc.
The Indian retail sector is highly fragmented with 97 per cent of its business being run by the unorganized retailers. The organized retail however is at a very nascent stage. The sector is the largest source of employment after agriculture, and has deep penetration into rural India generating more than 10 per cent of India’s GDP
FDI Policy in India
FDI as defined in Dictionary of Economics (Graham Bannock et.al) is investment in a foreign country through the acquisition of a local company or the establishment there of an operation on a new (Greenfield) site. To put in simple words, FDI refers to capital inflows from abroad that is invested in or to enhance the production capacity of the economy.
Foreign Investment in India is governed by the FDI policy announced by the Government of India and the provision of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999. The Reserve Bank of India (‘RBI’) in this regard had issued a notification, which contains the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or issue of security by a person resident outside India) Regulations, 2000. This notification has been amended from time to time.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India is the nodal agency for motoring and reviewing the FDI policy on continued basis and changes in sectoral policy/ sectoral equity cap. The FDI policy is notified through Press Notes by the Secretariat for Industrial Assistance (SIA), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
The foreign investors are free to invest in India, except few sectors/activities, where prior approval from the RBI or Foreign Investment Promotion Board (‘FIPB’) would be required.
FDI Policy with Regard to Retailing in India
It will be prudent to look into Press Note 4 of 2006 issued by DIPP and consolidated FDI Policy issued in October 2010 which provide the sector specific guidelines for FDI with regard to the conduct of trading activities.
a) FDI up to 100% for cash and carry wholesale trading and export trading allowed under the automatic route.
b) FDI up to 51 % with prior Government approval (i.e. FIPB) for retail trade of ‘Single Brand’ products, subject to Press Note 3 (2006 Series)
c) FDI is not permitted in Multi Brand Retailing in India.
Entry Options For Foreign Players prior to FDI Policy
Although prior to Jan 24, 2006, FDI was not authorised in retailing, most general players ha\d been operating in the country. Some of entrance routes used by them have been discussed in sum as below:-
1. Franchise Agreements
It is an easiest track to come in the Indian market. In franchising and commission agents’ services, FDI (unless otherwise prohibited) is allowed with the approval of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the Foreign Exchange Management Act. This is a most usual mode for entrance of quick food bondage opposite a world. Apart from quick food bondage identical to Pizza Hut, players such as Lacoste, Mango, Nike as good as Marks as good as Spencer, have entered Indian marketplace by this route.
2. Cash And Carry Wholesale Trading
100% FDI is allowed in wholesale trading which involves building of a large distribution infrastructure to assist local manufacturers. The wholesaler deals only with smaller retailers and not Consumers. Metro AG of Germany was the first significant global player to enter India through this route.
3. Strategic Licensing Agreements
Some foreign brands give exclusive licences and distribution rights to Indian companies. Through these rights, Indian companies can either sell it through their own stores, or enter into shop-in-shop arrangements or distribute the brands to franchisees. Mango, the Spanish apparel brand has entered India through this route with an agreement with Piramyd, Mumbai, SPAR entered into a similar agreement with Radhakrishna Foodlands Pvt. Ltd
4. Manufacturing and Wholly Owned Subsidiaries.
The foreign brands such as Nike, Reebok, Adidas, etc. that have wholly-owned subsidiaries in manufacturing are treated as Indian companies and are, therefore, allowed to do retail. These companies have been authorized to sell products to Indian consumers by franchising, internal distributors, existent Indian retailers, own outlets, etc. For instance, Nike entered through an exclusive licensing agreement with Sierra Enterprises but now has a wholly owned subsidiary, Nike India Private Limited.
FDI in Single Brand Retail
The Government has not categorically defined the meaning of “Single Brand” anywhere neither in any of its circulars nor any notifications.
In single-brand retail, FDI up to 51 per cent is allowed, subject to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval and subject to the conditions mentioned in Press Note 3 that (a) only single brand products would be sold (i.e., retail of goods of multi-brand even if produced by the same manufacturer would not be allowed), (b) products should be sold under the same brand internationally, (c) single-brand product retail would only cover products which are branded during manufacturing and (d) any addition to product categories to be sold under “single-brand” would require fresh approval from the government.
While the phrase ‘single brand’ has not been defined, it implies that foreign companies would be allowed to sell goods sold internationally under a ‘single brand’, viz., Reebok, Nokia, Adidas. Retailing of goods of multiple brands, even if such products were produced by the same manufacturer, would not be allowed.
Going a step further, we examine the concept of ‘single brand’ and the associated conditions:
FDI in ‘Single brand’ retail implies that a retail store with foreign investment can only sell one brand. For example, if Adidas were to obtain permission to retail its flagship brand in India, those retail outlets could only sell products under the Adidas brand and not the Reebok brand, for which separate permission is required. If granted permission, Adidas could sell products under the Reebok brand in separate outlets.
But, what is a ‘brand’?
Brands could be classified as products and multiple products, or could be manufacturer brands and own-label brands. Assume that a company owns two leading international brands in the footwear industry – say ‘A’ and ‘R’. If the corporate were to obtain permission to retail its brand in India with a local partner, it would need to specify which of the brands it would sell. A reading of the government release indicates that A and R would need separate approvals, separate legal entities, and may be even separate stores in which to operate in India. However, it should be noted that the retailers would be able to sell multiple products under the same brand, e.g., a product range under brand ‘A’ Further, it appears that the same joint venture partners could operate various brands, but under separate legal entities.
Now, taking an example of a large departmental grocery chain, prima facie it appears that it would not be able to enter India. These chains would, typically, source products and, thereafter, brand it under their private labels. Since the regulations require the products to be branded at the manufacturing stage, this model may not work. The regulations appear to discourage own-label products and appear to be tilted heavily towards the foreign manufacturer brands.
There is ambiguity in the interpretation of the term ‘single brand’. The existing policy does not clearly codify whether retailing of goods with sub-brands bunched under a major parent brand can be considered as single-brand retailing and, accordingly, eligible for 51 per cent FDI. Additionally, the question on whether co-branded goods (specifically branded as such at the time of manufacturing) would qualify as single brand retail trading remains unanswered.
FDI in Multi Brand Retail
The government has also not defined the term Multi Brand. FDI in Multi Brand retail implies that a retail store with a foreign investment can sell multiple brands under one roof.
In July 2010, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce circulated a discussion paper on allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. The paper doesn’t suggest any upper limit on FDI in multi-brand retail. If implemented, it would open the doors for global retail giants to enter and establish their footprints on the retail landscape of India. Opening up FDI in multi-brand retail will mean that global retailers including Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco can open stores offering a range of household items and grocery directly to consumers in the same way as the ubiquitous ’kirana’ store.
Foreign Investor’s Concern Regarding FDI Policy in India
For those brands which adopt the franchising route as a matter of policy, the current FDI Policy will not make any difference. They would have preferred that the Government liberalize rules for maximizing their royalty and franchise fees. They must still rely on innovative structuring of franchise arrangements to maximize their returns. Consumer durable majors such as LG and Samsung, which have exclusive franchisee owned stores, are unlikely to shift from the preferred route right away.
For those companies which choose to adopt the route of 51% partnership, they must tie up with a local partner. The key is finding a partner which is reliable and who can also teach a trick or two about the domestic market and the Indian consumer. Currently, the organized retail sector is dominated by the likes of large business groups which decided to diversify into retail to cash in on the boom in the sector – corporates such as Tata through its brand Westside, RPG Group through Foodworld, Pantaloon of the Raheja Group and Shopper’s Stop. Do foreign investors look to tie up with an existing retailer or look to others not necessarily in the business but looking to diversify, as many business groups are doing?
An arrangement in the short to medium term may work wonders but what happens if the Government decides to further liberalize the regulations as it is currently contemplating? Will the foreign investor terminate the agreement with Indian partner and trade in market without him? Either way, the foreign investor must negotiate its joint venture agreements carefully, with an option for a buy-out of the Indian partner’s share if and when regulations so permit. They must also be aware of the regulation which states that once a foreign company enters into a technical or financial collaboration with an Indian partner, it cannot enter into another joint venture with another Indian company or set up its own subsidiary in the ‘same’ field’ without the first partner’s consent if the joint venture agreement does not provide for a ‘conflict of interest’ clause. In effect, it means that foreign brand owners must be extremely careful whom they choose as partners and the brand they introduce in India. The first brand could also be their last if they do not negotiate the strategic arrangement diligently.
Concerns for the Government for only Partially Allowing FDI in Retail Sector
A number of concerns were expressed with regard to partial opening of the retail sector for FDI. The Hon’ble Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce, in its 90th Report, on ‘Foreign and Domestic Investment in Retail Sector’, laid in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on 8 June, 2009, had made an in-depth study on the subject and identified a number of issues related to FDI in the retail sector. These included:
It would lead to unfair competition and ultimately result in large-scale exit of domestic retailers, especially the small family managed outlets, leading to large scale displacement of persons employed in the retail sector. Further, as the manufacturing sector has not been growing fast enough, the persons displaced from the retail sector would not be absorbed there.
Another concern is that the Indian retail sector, particularly organized retail, is still under-developed and in a nascent stage and that, therefore, it is important that the domestic retail sector is allowed to grow and consolidate first, before opening this sector to foreign investors.
Antagonists of FDI in retail sector oppose the same on various grounds, like, that the entry of large global retailers such as Wal-Mart would kill local shops and millions of jobs, since the unorganized retail sector employs an enormous percentage of Indian population after the agriculture sector; secondly that the global retailers would conspire and exercise monopolistic power to raise prices and monopolistic (big buying) power to reduce the prices received by the suppliers; thirdly, it would lead to asymmetrical growth in cities, causing discontent and social tension elsewhere. Hence, both the consumers and the suppliers would lose, while the profit margins of such retail chains would go up.
LIMITATIONS OF THE PRESENT SETUP
There has been a lack of investment in the logistics of the retail chain, leading to an inefficient market mechanism. Though India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables (about 180 million MT), it has a very limited integrated cold-chain infrastructure, with only 5386 stand-alone cold storages, having a total capacity of 23.6 million MT. , 80% of this is used only for potatoes. The chain is highly fragmented and hence, perishable horticultural commodities find it difficult to link to distant markets, including overseas markets, round the year. Storage infrastructure is necessary for carrying over the agricultural produce from production periods to the rest of the year and to prevent distress sales. Lack of adequate storage facilities cause heavy losses to farmers in terms of wastage in quality and quantity of produce in general. Though FDI is permitted in cold-chain to the extent of 100%, through the automatic route, in the absence of FDI in retailing; FDI flow to the sector has not been significant.
Intermediaries dominate the value chain
Intermediaries often flout mandi norms and their pricing lacks transparency. Wholesale regulated markets, governed by State APMC Acts, have developed a monopolistic and non-transparent character. According to some reports, Indian farmers realize only 1/3rd of the total price paid by the final consumer, as against 2/3rd by farmers in nations with a higher share of organized retail.
Improper Public Distribution System (“PDS”)
There is a big question mark on the efficacy of the public procurement and PDS set-up and the bill on food subsidies is rising. In spite of such heavy subsidies, overall food based inflation has been a matter of great concern. The absence of a ‘farm-to-fork’ retail supply system has led to the ultimate customers paying a premium for shortages and a charge for wastages.
No Global Reach
The Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (“MSME”) sector has also suffered due to lack of branding and lack of avenues to reach out to the vast world markets. While India has continued to provide emphasis on the development of MSME sector, the share of unorganised sector in overall manufacturing has declined from 34.5% in 1999-2000 to 30.3% in 2007-08. This has largely been due to the inability of this sector to access latest technology and improve its marketing interface.
Rationale behind Allowing FDI in Retail Sector
FDI can be a powerful catalyst to spur competition in the retail industry, due to the current scenario of low competition and poor productivity.
The policy of single-brand retail was adopted to allow Indian consumers access to foreign brands. Since Indians spend a lot of money shopping abroad, this policy enables them to spend the same money on the same goods in India. FDI in single-brand retailing was permitted in 2006, up to 51 per cent of ownership. Between then and May 2010, a total of 94 proposals have been received. Of these, 57 proposals have been approved. An FDI inflow of US$196.46 million under the category of single brand retailing was received between April 2006 and September 2010, comprising 0.16 per cent of the total FDI inflows during the period. Retail stocks rose by as much as 5%. Shares of Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd ended 4.84% up at Rs 441 on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Shares of Shopper’s Stop Ltd rose 2.02% and Trent Ltd, 3.19%. The exchange’s key index rose 173.04 points, or 0.99%, to 17,614.48. But this is very less as compared to what it would have been had FDI upto 100% been allowed in India for single brand.
The policy of allowing 100% FDI in single brand retail can benefit both the foreign retailer and the Indian partner – foreign players get local market knowledge, while Indian companies can access global best management practices, designs and technological knowhow. By partially opening this sector, the government was able to reduce the pressure from its trading partners in bilateral/ multilateral negotiations and could demonstrate India’s intentions in liberalizing this sector in a phased manner.
Permitting foreign investment in food-based retailing is likely to ensure adequate flow of capital into the country & its productive use, in a manner likely to promote the welfare of all sections of society, particularly farmers and consumers. It would also help bring about improvements in farmer income & agricultural growth and assist in lowering consumer prices inflation.
Apart from this, by allowing FDI in retail trade, India will significantly flourish in terms of quality standards and consumer expectations, since the inflow of FDI in retail sector is bound to pull up the quality standards and cost-competitiveness of Indian producers in all the segments. It is therefore obvious that we should not only permit but encourage FDI in retail trade.
Lastly, it is to be noted that the Indian Council of Research in International Economic Relations (ICRIER), a premier economic think tank of the country, which was appointed to look into the impact of BIG capital in the retail sector, has projected the worth of Indian retail sector to reach $496 billion by 2011-12 and ICRIER has also come to conclusion that investment of ‘big’ money (large corporates and FDI) in the retail sector would in the long run not harm interests of small, traditional, retailers.
In light of the above, it can be safely concluded that allowing healthy FDI in the retail sector would not only lead to a substantial surge in the country’s GDP and overall economic development, but would inter alia also help in integrating the Indian retail market with that of the global retail market in addition to providing not just employment but a better paying employment, which the unorganized sector (kirana and other small time retailing shops) have undoubtedly failed to provide to the masses employed in them.
Industrial organisations such as CII, FICCI, US-India Business Council (USIBC), the American Chamber of Commerce in India, The Retail Association of India (RAI) and Shopping Centers Association of India (a 44 member association of Indian multi-brand retailers and shopping malls) favour a phased approach toward liberalising FDI in multi-brand retailing, and most of them agree with considering a cap of 49-51 per cent to start with.
The international retail players such as Walmart, Carrefour, Metro, IKEA, and TESCO share the same view and insist on a clear path towards 100 per cent opening up in near future. Large multinational retailers such as US-based Walmart, Germany’s Metro AG and Woolworths Ltd, the largest Australian retailer that operates in wholesale cash-and-carry ventures in India, have been demanding liberalisation of FDI rules on multi-brand retail for some time.
Thus, as a matter of fact FDI in the buzzing Indian retail sector should not just be freely allowed but per contra should be significantly encouraged. Allowing FDI in multi brand retail can bring about Supply Chain Improvement, Investment in Technology, Manpower and Skill development,Tourism Development, Greater Sourcing From India, Upgradation in Agriculture, Efficient Small and Medium Scale Industries, Growth in market size and Benefits to govemment through greater GDP, tax income and employment generation.
Prerequisites before allowing FDI in Multi Brand Retail and Lifting Cap of Single Brand Retail
FDI in multi-brand retailing must be dealt cautiously as it has direct impact on a large chunk of population. Left alone foreign capital will seek ways through which it can only multiply itself, and unthinking application of capital for profit, given our peculiar socio-economic conditions, may spell doom and deepen the gap between the rich and the poor. Thus the proliferation of foreign capital into multi-brand retailing needs to be anchored in such a way that it results in a win-win situation for India. This can be done by integrating into the rules and regulations for FDI in multi-brand retailing certain inbuilt safety valves. For example FDI in multi –brand retailing can be allowed in a calibrated manner with social safeguards so that the effect of possible labor dislocation can be analyzed and policy fine tuned accordingly. To ensure that the foreign investors make a genuine contribution to the development of infrastructure and logistics, it can be stipulated that a percentage of FDI should be spent towards building up of back end infrastructure, logistics or agro processing units. Reconstituting the poverty stricken and stagnating rural sphere into a forward moving and prosperous rural sphere can be one of the justifications for introducing FDI in multi-brand retailing. To actualize this goal it can be stipulated that at least 50% of the jobs in the retail outlet should be reserved for rural youth and that a certain amount of farm produce be procured from the poor farmers. Similarly to develop our small and medium enterprise (SME), it can also be stipulated that a minimum percentage of manufactured products be sourced from the SME sector in India. PDS is still in many ways the life line of the people living below the poverty line. To ensure that the system is not weakened the government may reserve the right to procure a certain amount of food grains for replenishing the buffer. To protect the interest of small retailers the government may also put in place an exclusive regulatory framework. It will ensure that the retailing giants do resort to predatory pricing or acquire monopolistic tendencies. Besides, the government and RBI need to evolve suitable policies to enable the retailers in the unorganized sector to expand and improve their efficiencies. If Government is allowing FDI, it must do it in a calibrated fashion because it is politically sensitive and link it (with) up some caveat from creating some back-end infrastructure.
Further, To take care of the concerns of the Government before allowing 100% FDI in Single Brand Retail and Multi- Brand Retail, the following recommendations are being proposed :-
• Preparation of a legal and regulatory framework and enforcement mechanism to ensure that large retailers are not able to dislocate small retailers by unfair means.
• Extension of institutional credit, at lower rates, by public sector banks, to help improve efficiencies of small retailers; undertaking of proactive programme for assisting small retailers to upgrade themselves.
• Enactment of a National Shopping Mall Regulation Act to regulate the fiscal and social aspects of the entire retail sector.
• Formulation of a Model Central Law regarding FDI of Retail Sector.
A Start Has Been Made
Walmart has a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises for cash-and-carry (wholesale) business, which runs the ‘Best Price’ stores. It plans to have 15 stores by March and enter new states like Andhra Pradesh , Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
Duke, Wallmart’s CEO opined that FDI in retail would contain inflation by reducing wastage of farm output as 30% to 40% of the produce does not reach the end-consumer. “In India, there is an opportunity to work all the way up to farmers in the back-end chain. Part of inflation is due to the fact that produces do not reach the end-consumer,” Duke said, adding, that a similar trend was noticed when organized retail became popular in the US.
Many of the foreign brands would come to India if FDI in multi brand retail is permitted which can be a blessing in disguise for the economy.
Back-end logistics must for FDI in multi-brand retail
The government has added an element of social benefit to its latest plan for calibrated opening of the multi-brand retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI). Only those foreign retailers who first invest in the back-end supply chain and infrastructure would be allowed to set up multi brand retail outlets in the country. The idea is that the firms must have already created jobs for rural India before they venture into multi-brand retailing.
It can be said that the advantages of allowing unrestrained FDI in the retail sector evidently outweigh the disadvantages attached to it and the same can be deduced from the examples of successful experiments in countries like Thailand and China; where too the issue of allowing FDI in the retail sector was first met with incessant protests, but later turned out to be one of the most promising political and economical decisions of their governments and led not only to the commendable rise in the level of employment but also led to the enormous development of their country’s GDP.
Moreover, in the fierce battle between the advocators and antagonist of unrestrained FDI flows in the Indian retail sector, the interests of the consumers have been blatantly and utterly disregarded. Therefore, one of the arguments which inevitably needs to be considered and addressed while deliberating upon the captioned issue is the interests of consumers at large in relation to the interests of retailers.
It is also pertinent to note here that it can be safely contended that with the possible advent of unrestrained FDI flows in retail market, the interests of the retailers constituting the unorganized retail sector will not be gravely undermined, since nobody can force a consumer to visit a mega shopping complex or a small retailer/sabji mandi. Consumers will shop in accordance with their utmost convenience, where ever they get the lowest price, max variety, and a good consumer experience.
The Industrial policy 1991 had crafted a trajectory of change whereby every sectors of Indian economy at one point of time or the other would be embraced by liberalization, privatization and globalization.FDI in multi-brand retailing and lifting the current cap of 51% on single brand retail is in that sense a steady progression of that trajectory. But the government has by far cushioned the adverse impact of the change that has ensued in the wake of the implementation of Industrial Policy 1991 through safety nets and social safeguards. But the change that the movement of retailing sector into the FDI regime would bring about will require more involved and informed support from the government. One hopes that the government would stand up to its responsibility, because what is at stake is the stability of the vital pillars of the economy- retailing, agriculture, and manufacturing. In short, the socio economic equilibrium of the entire country.
Retail productivity in India is very low compared to international peer measures. For example, the labor productivity in Indian retail was just 6% of the labor productivity in United States in 2010. India's labor productivity in food retailing is about 5% compared to Brazil's 14%; while India's labor productivity in non-food retailing is about 8% compared to Poland's 25%.
Total retail employment in India, both organized and unorganized, account for about 6% of Indian labor work force currently - most of which is unorganized. This about a third of levels in United States and Europe; and about half of levels in other emerging economies. A complete expansion of retail sector to levels and productivity similar to other emerging economies and developed economies such as the United States would create over 50 million jobs in India. Training and development of labor and management for higher retail productivity is expected to be a challenge.
To become a truly flourishing industry, retailing in India needs to cross the following hurdles:
• Automatic approval is not allowed for foreign investment in retail.
• Regulations restricting real estate purchases, and cumbersome local laws.
• Taxation, which favours small retail businesses.
• Absence of developed supply chain and integrated IT management.
• Lack of trained work force.
• Low skill level for retailing management.
• Lack of Retailing Courses and study options
• Intrinsic complexity of retailing – rapid price changes, constant threat of product obsolescence and low margins.
In November 2011, the Indian government announced relaxation of some rules and the opening of retail market to competition.
India retail reforms
Until 2011, Indian central government denied foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand Indian retail, forbidding foreign groups from any ownership in supermarkets, convenience stores or any retail outlets, to sell multiple products from different brands directly to Indian consumers.
The government of Manmohan Singh, prime minister, announced on 24 November 2011 the following:
• India will allow foreign groups to own up to 51 per cent in "multi-brand retailers", as supermarkets are known in India, in the most radical pro-liberalisation reform passed by an Indian cabinet in years;
• single brand retailers, such as Apple and Ikea, can own 100 percent of their Indian stores, up from the previous cap of 51 percent;
• both multi-brand and single brand stores in India will have to source nearly a third of their goods from small and medium-sized Indian suppliers;
• all multi-brand and single brand stores in India must confine their operations to 53-odd cities with a population over one million, out of some 7935 towns and cities in India. It is expected that these stores will now have full access to over 200 million urban consumers in India;
• multi-brand retailers must have a minimum investment of US$100 million with at least half of the amount invested in back end infrastructure, including cold chains, refrigeration, transportation, packing, sorting and processing to considerably reduce the post harvest losses and bring remunerative prices to farmers;
• the opening of retail competition will be within India's federal structure of government. In other words, the policy is an enabling legal framework for India. The states of India have the prerogative to accept it and implement it, or they can decide to not implement it if they so choose. Actual implementation of policy will be within the parameters of state laws and regulations.
The opening of retail industry to global competition is expected to spur a retail rush to India. It has the potential to transform not only the retailing landscape but also the nation's ailing infrastructure.,
Fresh investments in Indian organized retail will generate 10 million new jobs between 2012–2014, and about five to six million of them in logistics alone; even though the retail market is being opened to just 53 cities out of about 8000 towns and cities in India.
It is expected to help tame stubbornly high inflation but is likely to be vehemently opposed by millions of small retailers, who see large foreign chains as a threat. The need to control food price inflation—averaging double-digit rises over several years—prompted the government to open the sector, analysts claim. Hitherto India's food supplies have been controlled by tens of millions of middlemen (less than 5% of Indian population). Traders add huge mark-ups to farm prices, while offering little by way of technical support to help farmers boost their productivity, packaging technology, pushing up retail prices significantly. Analysts said allowing in big foreign retailers would provide an impetus for them to set up modern supply chains, with refrigerated vans, cold storage and more efficient logistics. "I think foreign chains can also bring in humongous logistical benefits and capital,". "The biggest beneficiary would be the small farmers who will be able to improve their productivity by selling directly to large organised players," Mr Banerjee said.
Indian retail reforms on hold [ OPPOSITION]
According the Chief Minister of the Indian state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, who is against the policy and whose Trinamool Congress brings 19 votes to the ruling Congress party-led coalition, claimed that India’s government may put the FDI retail reforms on hold until it reaches consensus within the ruling coalition - this risked a possible dilution of the policy rather than a change of heart.,,
The resistance to Indian retail reforms is primarily because it has been badly sold, even though it can help fix the exploitation of Indian farmers by the decades-old "arhtiya" and "mandi" monopoly system. India Today claims the policy is good for the small Indian farmer and the Indian consumer.
The mom-and-pop farmers of India support these reforms. The consumers of India want the reforms. The government has already annoyed those who oppose change and innovation in retail. By putting retail reforms on hold, the government will additionally alienate much larger segment of India's population supporting FDI.
Single-brand retail reforms approved
On January 11, 2012, India approved increased competition and innovation in single-brand retail.
The reform seeks to attract investments in production and marketing, improve the availability of goods for the consumer, encourage increased sourcing of goods from India, and enhance competitiveness of Indian enterprises through access to global designs, technologies and management practices. In this announcement, India requires single-brand retailer, with greater than 51% foreign ownership, to source at least 30% of the value of products from Indian small industries, village and cottage industries, artisans and craftsmen.
Social impact and controversy with retail reforms
The November 2011 retail reforms in India have sparked intense activism, both in opposition and in support of the reforms.
Critics of the Indian retail reforms announcement are making one or more of the following points:,
• Independent stores will close, leading to massive job losses. Walmart employs very few people in the United States. If allowed to expand in India as much as Walmart has expanded in the United States, few thousand jobs may be created but millions will be lost.
• Walmart will lower prices to dump goods, get competition out of the way, become a monopoly, then raise prices. We have seen this in the case of the soft drinks industry. Pepsi and Coke came in and wiped out all the domestic brands.
• India doesn't need foreign retailers, since homegrown companies and traditional markets may be able to do the job.
• Work will be done by Indians, profits will go to foreigners.
• Remember East India Company. It entered India as a trader and then took over politically.
• There will be sterile homogeneity and Indian cities will look like cities anywhere else.
• The government hasn't built consensus.
Supporters claim none of these objections has merit. They claim:
• Organized retail will need workers. Walmart employs 1.4 million people in United States alone.With United States population of about 300 million, and India's population of about 1200 million, if Walmart-like retail companies were to expand in India as much as their presence in the United States, and the staffing level in Indian stores kept at the same level as in the United States stores, Walmart alone would employ 5.6 million Indian citizens. Walmart has a 6.5% market share of the total United States retail. Adjusted for this market share, the expected jobs in future Indian organized retail would total over 85 million. In addition, millions of additional jobs will be created during the building of and the maintenance of retail stores, roads, cold storage centers, software industry, electronic cash registers and other retail supporting organizations. Instead of job losses, retail reforms are likely to be massive boost to Indian job availability.
• KPMG - one of the world's largest audit companies - finds that in China, the employment in both retail and wholesale trade increased from 4% in 1992 to about 7% in 2001, post China opening its retail to foreign and domestic innovation and competition. In absolute terms, China experienced the creation of 26 million new jobs within 9 years, post China announcing FDI retail reforms. Additionally, contrary to some concerns in China, post retail reforms, the number of traditional small retailers also grew by 30% over 5 years.
• India needs trillions of dollar to build its infrastructure, hospitals, housing and schools for its growing population. Indian economy is small, with limited surplus capital. Indian government is already operating on budget deficits. It is simply not possible for Indian investors or Indian government to fund this expansion, job creation and growth at the rate India needs. Global investment capital through FDI is necessary. Beyond capital, Indian retail industry needs knowledge and global integration. Global retail leaders, some of which are partly owned by people of Indian origin,can bring this knowledge. Global integration can potentially open export markets for Indian farmers and producers. Walmart, for example, expects to source and export some $1 billion worth of goods from India every year, since it came into Indian wholesale retail market.
• Walmart, Carrefour, Tesco, Target, Metro, Coop are some of over 350 global retail companies with annual sales over $1 billion. These retail companies have operated for over 30 years in numerous countries. They have not become monopolies. Competition between Walmart-like retailers has kept food prices in check. Canada credits their very low inflation rates to Walmart-effect. Anti-trust laws and state regulations, such as those in Indian legal code, have prevented food monopolies from forming anywhere in the world. Price inflation in these countries has been 5 to 10 times lower than price inflation in India. The current consumer price inflation in Europe and the United States is less than 2%, compared to India's double digit inflation.
• The Pepsi and Coke example is meaningless in the context of Indian beverage market. More competition is lacking because of limited demand. Indian consumer has limited interest in soft drinks. Soft drinks represent less than 5% of Indian beverage market. Indian consumer prefers milk-based, tea and coffee and these account for 90% of Indian beverage market. In these markets, Coca Cola and Pepsi have plenty of competition. The next most important market in India is bottled water, that outsells combined soft drink sales of the Pepsi and Coca Cola. Bottled water, milk, coffee and tea market in India are big markets, and have plenty of domestic brands, European brands like Nestle, as well as Pepsi and Coca Cola. Organized retail too will have numerous brands and strong competition.
• Comparing 21st century to 18th century is inappropriate. Conditions today are not same as in the 18th century. India wasn't a democracy then, it is today. Global awareness and news media were not the same in 18th century as today. Consider China today. It has over 57 million square feet of retail space owned by foreigners, employing millions of Chinese citizens. Yet, China hasn't become a vassal of imperialists. It enjoys respect from all global powers. Other Asian countries like Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia see foreign retailers as catalysts of new technology and price reduction; and they have benefitted immensely by welcoming FDI in retail. India too will benefit by integrating with the world, rather than isolating itself.
• With 51% FDI limit in multi-brand retailers, nearly half of any profits will remain in India. Any profits will be subject to taxes, and such taxes will reduce Indian government budget deficit. Many years ago, China adopted the retail reform policy India has announced; China allowed FDI in its retail sector. It has taken FDI-financed retailers in China between 5 to 10 years to post profits, in large part because of huge investments they had to make initially. Like China, it is unlikely foreign retailers will earn any profits in India for the first 5 to 10 years. Ultimately, retail companies must earn profits with hard work and by creating value.
• States have a right to say no to retail FDI within their jurisdiction. States have the right to add restrictions to the retail policy announced before they implement them. Thus, they can place limits on number, market share, style, diversity, homogeneity and other factors to suit their cultural preferences. Finally, in future, states can always introduce regulations and India can change the law to ensure the benefits of retail reforms reach the poorest and weakest segments of Indian society, free and fair retail competition does indeed lead to sharply lower inflation than current levels, small farmers get better prices, jobs created by organized retail pay well, and healthier food becomes available to more households.
• Inbuilt inefficiencies and wastage in distribution and storage account for why, according to some estimates, as much as 40% of food production doesn't reach consumers. Fifty million children in India are malnourished. Food often rots at farms, in transit, or in antiquated state-run warehouses. Cost-conscious organized retail companies will avoid waste and loss, making food available to the weakest and poorest segment of Indian society, while increasing the income of small farmers. Walmart, for example, since its arrival in Indian wholesale retail market, has successfully introduced "Direct Farm Project" at Haider Nagar near Malerkotla in Punjab, where 110 farmers have been connected with Bharti Walmart for sourcing fresh vegetables directly, thereby reducing waste and bringing fresher produce to Indian consumers.
• Indian small shops employ workers without proper contracts, making them work long hours. Many unorganized small shops depend on child labour. A well-regulated retail sector will help curtail some of these abuses.
• Organized retail has enabled a wide range of companies to start and flourish in other countries. For example, in the United States, an organized retailer named Whole Foods has rapidly grown to annual revenues of $9 billion by working closely with farmers, delighting customers and caring about the communities it has stores in.
• The claims that there is no consensus is without merit. About 10 years ago, when opposition formed the central government, they had proposed retail reforms and suggested India consider FDI in retail. Retail reforms discussions are not new. More recently, retail reforms announced evolved after a process of intense consultations and consensus building intiative. In 2010, the Indian government circulated a discussion paper on FDI retail reforms.On July 6, 2011, another version of the discussion paper was circulated by the central government of India. Comments from a wide cross-section of Indian society including farmers' associations, industry bodies, consumer forums, academics, traders' associations, investors, economists were analyzed in depth before the matter was discussed by the Committee of Secretaries. By early August 2011, the consensus from various segments of Indian society was overwhelming in favor of retail reforms.The reform outline was presented in India's Rajya Sabha in August 2011. The announced reforms are the result of this consensus process. The current opposition is not helping the consensus process, since consensus is not built by threats and disruption. Those who oppose current retail reforms should help build consensus with ideas and proposals, if they have any. The opposition parties currently disrupting the Indian parliament on retail reforms have not offered even one idea or a single proposal on how India can eliminate food spoilage, reduce inflation, improve food security, feed the poor, improve the incomes of small farmers.
merits and demerits of on-line shopping
- You can search for exactly what you’re looking for quicker. There are many online stores who specialize in a certain type of sofa or style that you may be looking for and a quick google search will bring you to that site. If you love knowing the newest styles, or having unique pieces then online shopping makes it easier to do so.
- Instead of driving around wasting gas or spending hours on the bus in travel time you can visit all the stores that you’re interested in at once. This eliminates time going from store to store to see what is available and at what price.
- Easier to find discounts on the sofa you’re looking for by “Googling”, going on Ebay, Amazon and many other websites out there offering deals. Online stores usually offer online specials as well, and there are multiple websites dedicated to sharing these deals with you.
1) Information on almost every subject imaginable.
2) Powerful search engines
3) Ability to do research from your home versus research libraries.
4) Information at various levels of study. Everything from scholarly articles to ones directed at children.
5) Message boards where people can discuss ideas on any topic. Ability to get wide range of opinions. People can find others that have a similar interest in whatever they are interested in.
6) The internet provides the ability of emails. Free mail service to anyone in the country.
7) Platform for products like SKYPE, which allow for holding a video conference with anyone in the world who also has access.
8) Friendships and love connections have been made over the internet by people involved in love/passion over similar interests.
9) Things such as Yahoo Answers and other sites where kids can have readily available help for homework.
10) News, of all kinds is available almost instantaneously. Commentary, on that news, from every conceivable viewpoint is also available.
- You usually have to wait long periods of time to receive your sofa. Sometimes, this can even take up to a month or longer if being shipped from overseas. There could be delays on the delivery, or miscommunication and you can’t go to the store or get in contact with someone face to face. Usually, there is no one to ease your frustration about any delays that occur.
- Shipping costs on your item can be extremely high in comparison to what you paid for the sofa, sometimes making the purchase not worth it.
- Sometimes looks can be deceiving. You don't get to test the product before you buy it. What might have looked beautiful to you in picture might not live up to your expectations once received. Then what?
- If it’s an online store that doesn’t have a local store in your area, returning the sofa will be a HUGE hassle. Make sure before you purchase online that you are clear on the stores return policies. Make sure that no matter how good the deal is that you have the option to return if need be. You wouldn’t want to spend 500+ dollars on furniture you can’t bring back.
- Another factor to remember about returns. You will have to pay the charge for shipping it back, repackaging, and stocking in most cases, unless it’s a manufacturing problem.
1) There is a lot of wrong information on the internet. Anyone can post anything, and much of it is garbage.
2) There are predators that hang out on the internet waiting to get unsuspecting people in dangerous situations.
3) Some people are getting addicted to the internet and thus causing problems with their interactions of friends and loved ones.
4) Pornography that can get in the hands of young children too easily.
5) Easy to waste a lot of time on the internet. You can start surfing, and then realize far more time has passed than you realized. Internet and television together of added to the more sedentary lifestyles of people which further exacerbates the obesity problem.
6) Internet has a lot of "cheater" sites. People can buy essays and pass them off as their own far more easily than they used to be able to do.
7) There are a lot of unscrupulous businesses that have sprung up on the internet to take advantage of people.
8) Hackers can create viruses that can get into your personal computer and ruin valuable data.
9) Hackers can use the internet for identity theft.
10) It can be quite depressing to be on the internet and realize just how uneducated so many people have become in today's society.