India’s kiranas, or small general stores, fear that the country’s decision to allow Wal-Mart and other foreign companies to invest in grocery stores and other kinds of retailers will hurt their businesses.
They should go to Bangalore and talk to Nandini. She might brighten their mood.
Nandini, who lives in Bangalore’s Indiranagar neighbourhood, was at Aditya Birla Group’s More retail store, eyeing the detergents when I interviewed her about the new rules on foreign direct investment, or FDI.
“Things here are more attractive,” she said. “You can see more options, but for my daily chores I always run in to our local shop nearby.”
Many Indians find it more convenient to call upon their nearest kirana “uncles” rather than rushing to a posh housing development to buy rice or noodles at the Big Bazaar or Star Bazaar.
Fear that the kiranas and other homegrown retailers will suffer at the expense of big, foreign investors exploiting India forced a large nationwide strike this week. The move, aimed at resuscitating India’s economy, also was one of the reasons that the coalition government that rules India just lost one of its main allies, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.