I remember a scene from a episode of famous comedy south park, where characters learn that there is no point in burning down the walmart as long as consumerism remains a way of life. If it is not walmart than some other store will become a giant and the same process would repeat. In India, now, when we are faced with eventuality of direct foreign investment in retail sector, similar questions need to be answered.
First issue is whether we should allow organized sector to open retail stores or not? Everybody today favors this step and we all in urban areas use one retail chain or other for convenience, lower costs and trusted material. Big Bazaar, Vishal mega mart, Mother dairy etc are now part of every town. So, this issue is settled.
Second issue is whether we should allow foreign companies to operate in this sector or not? Anti-liberalization lobby thinks that it will spell doom for small shop keepers. I agree to that. But this does not mean that people will get unemployed. People, most certainly will change jobs; they will start working in big retail chain in place of small shops; they will have lesser control over business, but they will have better financial facilities (fixed salary, pension etc). With the time, job profile has to changed otherwise we will be stuck in same old hindu rate of growth.
Another contention is that Indian companies will not be able to compete with global giants. So what? If private sector take benefit from open market than they should have capacities to face the competition. I am sure Indian companies will learn to remain profitable. At the time of opening of every sector people question it, but eventually it helps Indian economy to grow.
As far as farmers are concerned, they will be the first to benefit from such moves. They will have better storage facilities, better market linkage and in long term better technology also.
So, those who think that FDI in retail sector is a bad thing, need to think again. I am not a die hard fan of consumerism; but if you are in the colosseum, you have to swing your sword; otherwise you will not be left to teach the world about devility of being a gladiator.