Poor will pay price if foreign retailers arent allowed to enter India, warns Basu

Updated: Nov 30 2011, 09:16am hrs
Hundreds of millions of the poorest in India will have to pay more for staple foods like rice and vegetables if foreign supermarkets are refused permission to open in India, finance ministrys chief economic adviser Kaushik Basu told the Times of London on Tuesday. Allowing supermarket chains like Tesco and Wal-Mart to open stores in India would be one of the most effective ways of helping the country deal with food inflation, he said. There is a lot of misunderstanding about these changes, he said. Without them, Indians will just have to get used to paying higher prices for food. Lacking infrastructure, quality roads and refrigeration meant that around 40% of Indian fruit and vegetable supplies rotted before reaching consumers. More investment in the countrys food industry would keep prices down and help the overall economy, he added.