New Delhi: A senior Union minister has cautioned that India’s growth in modern retail should not come at the expense of small and unorganized sectors, echoing a concern that many of the country’s politicians have raised in recent months.

Word of caution: Union minister for rural development Raghuvansh Prasad Singh says that safeguards should be provided for the small and unorganized sector.

Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, minister for rural development, said India’s large firms who are looking to get into organized retail should not “snatch the daily bread of the poor people", referring to millions of small and unorganized sectors in India.

Speaking to reporters at the conclusion of a two-day supply chain conference, Singh said that organized retailers should provide “safeguards" to the unorganized sector including legions of middle men in the retail supply chain. Singh, however, did not clarify how he expects the modern retailers to provide safeguard to the country’s millions of small store-owners.

But, at the same conference a day ago, Subodh Kant Sahai, minister of state for food processing industries, had called the business losses of the so-called mom-and-pop shops due to the advent of deep-pocketed companies in retail a “myth".

Sahai had said that the government might consider relaxing further the country’s sensitive retail sector for foreign investment once it is “convinced" that the organized retailers are not hurting the businesses of small groups.

“Some people, particularly ex-politicians without jobs, are making cheap slogans (against modern retail business) without actually realizing that they were hurting the farmers," he said.

‘PTI’ contributed to this story.