Even as the government awaits the official copy of a study—which it had asked for some 10 months ago from Icrier—on the impact of organized retail on India’s small shopkeepers, it appears that several key cabinet members have already made up their minds.
The latest is minister of state for food processing industries Subodh Kant Sahai, who is widely quoted as saying it is a myth that big retail hurts the smaller shopkeeper, and blaming unnamed political leaders for making a lot of fuss over nothing. It would be unfortunate if the government assumes a stance not supported by survey data, as Mint reported by publishing the survey part of Icrier’s retail study. The issue isn’t really about simply questioning whether small retailers are being hurt. They are and will be—even if isn’t for long—as the data clearly proves. It is about coming up with pragmatic solutions after an honest, open debate. And a willingness to keep an open mind until then.