Big Retail Chains to be Banned

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala is all set to bring in a law to ban corporate retailers, both Indian and MNCs, in the state… This would be the first attempt of its kind in the country. Divakaran said the Left in Kerala doesn’t intend to draw the line for big retailers at peddling food grains, as Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee did for Bengal a few days ago. It will be a blanket ban and, according to the minister, the new legislation… Read more

The government seems to have taken a stubborn stand against the big corporate retail chains. This is defenitely a positive move, since huge players in the retail business have been taking over the local markets in the recent months, and would have forced small traders and retailers out of business in the near future. But it seems like the government is intent on bringing the whole retail market within its control-

Divakaran claims the government is putting things in place to make up for the absence of big retail corporates in the state. “We are going to have some 35,000 PDS shops use that space. We are going to add 17,000 more large outlets to the 3,000 that the State Civil Supplies Corporation now runs. Corporates can’t hope to tap the state’s huge rural market, the government can”.

The government has also decided to take on the corporate’s brand pull by setting up the state’s largest hypermarkets on its own, at Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Kochi, Divakaran said. That is besides some 14 huge ‘People’s Bazars’ to come up in each district, selling provisions, vegetables and everything else for day-to-day living, “with appropriate price support” from the government, he said.

This definitely isn’t the right way to go about banning big retailers. This will just create another monopoly- the government. What we need is decentralized distribution through small local retailers which would promote healthy competition. That’s how things were done, before the big corporates moved in, and spent a fortune for attracting customers to them. Do we really need to be pampered by the big bazaars or whatever, to buy the goods we need for living? Wouldn’t the grocer just around the corner be better?

Read about Walmart, on which most retail chains are modelled.

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