‘Multi-product retail FDI over-hyped’

The Congress MLA from Ludhiana West, Bharat Bhusan Ashu, has stated that FDI in multi-brand retail may not be the game changer as it is being projected to be nor will it adversely impact existing retail infrastructure as per the political propaganda.

He stated that in Punjab only four towns meet the criteria of 10 lakh population, viz Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar and Amritsar, where foreign companies can put their shops as per the policy paper on FDI.

Whatever limited experience Punjab has had through Pepsi on farming, there has been better than conventional returns. Similar is the story of people engaged in dairy farming with the presence of Nestle. There is no denying the fact that Punjab farmers are in desperate need to diversify into cash crops and allied farming occupations of dairy, poultry, apiculture etc. Just as MSMEs involved in garments, hosiery, hand tools, handicrafts etc will have a channel to market their products globally, FDI in retail will give much needed respite to farmers.

As per studies by agro-economists, the return per acre almost doubles in the initial five-seven years of FDI as huge amounts of produce get preserved and converted into products with longer shelf lives and with introduction of agronomical practices. With a greater number of MSMEs in organised retail, it brings manpower reforms with skill and technology upgradation. Ashu said, McDonalds interestingly paid more VAT in Ludhiana than the entire hotel industry in town. Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal had already winked against the NDA hullabaloo.

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