The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) launched ‘Retail India’ campaign last month. This campaign moved ahead highlighting the impacts on the farmers and the industry. The conference held a discussion with the likes of Nirmala Sitaraman, National spokesperson, Bharatiya Janata Party, D. Raja(M P) and Sanjeev Chopra, IAS.
The discussion involved members from different farmer associations, all of them had various concerns regarding the foreign investment coming up in India. At one side the farmers are hopeful that with the economy opening, they will get better share for their perishable and non-perishable produce. Addressing the crowd Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Farmer’s Forum, India said “We are not against FDI but at the same time we are not sure whether it will improve the situation of farmers across the nation. We do not want the middlemen to vanish instead we wish that with big retail players coming, it will bring healthy competition and we will get better margins”.
While most of the delegates were discussing the impact of FDI, Sitaraman came back strongly on the government and its intention. In her words “We believe FDI has been brought up in utmost hurry and government has failed to include all the parties and states in this decision. This government is obsessed with growth and the policies are not going to improve the situation in any case”. Chopra expressed his belief on FDI saying “We desperately need to improve the infrastructure like cold storage so as to increase the life cycle of the commodities and in this way we can help the farmers get a better share of the produce”.
Future, MD, Future group said “FDI will generate 1.5 million jobs and the industry will shift towards organised sector which is very important to meet the supplies in the future”.
The farmers demanded such discussions to be organised in open spaces so that more and more farmers, who are the biggest stake holders in this policy making, become a part of it. The campaign is expected to move ahead with many more such conferences pan India in the near future.