As persuasively argued by one columnist of this newspaper, allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail can’t be considered an economic reform. Yet, after years of yes-they-will and no-they-won’t, it became the decision most closely associated with the government’s free-market credentials. Policymakers, experts, and journalists discussed and dissected the issue threadbare and, when the government finally decided to go ahead and allow foreign retailers take stakes in supermarkets in India, the more optimistic analysts saw it as the opening of the reforms floodgates. It’s ironic, then, that the decision on FDI in retail should threaten to, yet again, hold up the business of Parliament when the winter session starts late next week. There’s work to be done, Bills to be passed, crises to be addressed, but nothing is likely to happen. Irrespective of how events pan out, it would have suited India’s interests better to witness a tussle, such as the one that looms large, over a more substantial issue.
On the decision of FDI in retail threatening to, yet again, hold up the business of Parliament
Photo: Hindustan Times