FDI in Retail: Wholesale victory
In any case, make no mistake, the issue was never about the kirana owner, nor was it about the farmer, the poor smelly farmer who BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said may never even be able to sell his produce inside a fancy FDI retail chain—which means she either thinks India’s cold chain is so developed, fresh produce will be imported, or that Carrefour simply won’t have a fresh produce section.
Nor was it particularly about facts. If it was, Swaraj wouldn’t have told us McDonald’s doesn’t buy Indian potatoes for its fries, or that Pepsi backed out of its commitments to Punjab farmers. Both firms have vehemently denied this.
If, as the BJP made it out to be, the issue was about the poor farmer, surely there were other issues that needed to be raised? After all, farmers lose about 8-10% of their earnings to arhatiyas in government-controlled mandis who have a monopoly over sales—a farmer cannot directly approach a buyer, or vice versa, the deal has to be consummated through an arhatiya who takes all of 5 minutes, or maybe it’s 10, to auction off a few trucks of produce. How come no one whose
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