The last deadline given by the government for the now long-delayed study on the impact of big retail on small Indian shopkeepers was end-February. At least that is what minister of industry and commerce Kamal Nath said.
Many deadlines have come and gone for this study, which was sought by Sonia Gandhi via Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to fend off political heat.
Readers of Mint know what Icrier’s fieldwork of 1,600 small retailers in four cities shows: that some 50% of stores located within a 2-5km radius of new, organized retail reported significant decline in sales. Mint reported results of that fieldwork in December and, back then, Icrier claimed its final numbers will be different.
But, the think tank has taken so long to submit this critical study, which was asked for 13 months ago, that one has to wonder if this report will ever see the light of day. Taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be wasted on surveys that are too late to make a real difference to public policy.