New Delhi: Five months after her government ordered the closure of western-style food retail stores, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has said she is not against corporate retailing and there was retail space for every one, “if planned well.”
“I welcome private investment in all sectors of the economy. Corporate retailing will not be stopped,” she said in an interview with CFO Asia magazine. But she asked companies entering retail to provide jobs to people impacted by their venture.
When asked her role in the closure of organized retail networks opened by companies such as Reliance, she said: “I have not ordered their closure...There was a law and order problem with affected people taking to the streets after these retail outlets were opened. Many lost jobs at kirana stores run by families.”
The Chief Minister said law and order had deteriorated over the years and was being restored. “Once that is done, investors of all hues are bound to make Uttar Pradesh their home,” she said.
“If planned well, there is retail space for everybody,” she added.
“Corporations will have to provide jobs to people whose livelihood is adversely impacted. Over 600 million rural families in India are facing the threat of losing their livelihood due to the unabashed opening up of the Indian market to foreign goods and services,” Mayawati said.
Mayawati was quoted by the Hong Kong-based magazine as saying three large areas had been identified in the state to shape them into SEZs on the lines of the model adopted in China.
“Infrastructure development is also being done the Chinese way, with big projects as the driver. The private sector is a major focus area where investments are encouraged in a big way,“ Mayawati said.
Targeting the Centre’s economic policy, the Chief Minister said the reforms had made no difference to the lives of the common man and women.
“The Centre’s economic reform programme is caged with large benefits intended for the capitalist coterie of this government. Unless there is moderation in this reform programme, there is every danger of losing people’s support for economic restructuring and reforms... Economic dividends should be shared by everybody and exclude none.”
When asked about her own economic policy, she said the business of doing business should be left to entrepreneurs and companies should be asked to adopt a policy of affirmative action as in the US.
“My government will not be in the business of doing business. It should be left to entrepreneurs whose potential remains largely untapped due to unimaginative laws governing the economy.
“With prudent regulation, I propose to unleash a fresh dose of economic reforms with moderation... I expect private businesses to voluntarily provide job opportunities to those denied access to work. A policy of job reservation for the deprived lot will be put in place. Indian and foreign companies doing business and expanding project capacities must adhere to this rule.”
Mayawati said that Indian industry had yet to undertake corporate responsibility, “like in America, where blacks have been allowed to develop skills and climb the social ladder.”
“My only other expectation is that industry and service providers should be fair to their employees and consumers.”