I travel by bus to reach my college which is 40 odd kilometers from my place of residence.On the way back from college, I saw an old lady in Shenoy Nagar Market, Chennai selling lemons. A man asked her for 5 lemons and instantly started bargaining with her (Can he bargain in a supermarket?! 😀 :/ I thought!). After all negotiations, she convinced him to buy the lemon for 4 rupees and placed her hand on the plastic covers. Her constantly shaking hands was unable to remove one plastic cover from a set from covers sticked together. After numerous failed attempts, she finally gave the lemon in the plastic cover to that man and kept the 4 rupees he gave inside her old rusted steel box. The next morning, on the same road, this time proceeding towards college, I saw the same old lady at 6 30 am assembling the lemon sacks in order with a lot of strain evident in her face.
I felt very bad that day and I lived the whole day with the face of the old lady flashing through my eyes at many instances.I understood the pains taken by these platform vendors, street sellers to sell these vegetables and fruits. The plight taken by these retailers will be completely overshadowed if FDI in retail comes into picture.Money may be infused into our economy, new investments may come up, new jobs may be created but can anything substitute the hard-work done by these small scale retailers? I didn’t have an opportunity to talk to that old lady but her mere face told me a lot about the hardships she is facing day-in and day-out. She might not even know what FDI is all about but I strongly feel the policies framed by the government now are largely done keeping the urban population in mind.”India is a land with lakhs of Villages. Unless and until they take part in the fight for Independence we can’t achieve Independence”, said Mahatma Gandhi.This statement was one of the turning points in achieving our Indian Independence. In that case, how can the independent progressing India ignore the villagers who had worked cohesively with urban ‘highly educated’ people for our independence. I’m not an economist, I’m not a politician but I’m a human who can understand emotions of another human. Leaving the villages behind and building multi-storied buildings in cities cannot be termed as wholesome development. If that is followed, India can never reach her ‘developed’ status.
India is a mixed economy in which capitalism has a major part. I do agree that development is necessary and foreign investments has to be made.But the repercussions of these investments must not target the innocent, less educated citizens of our country. Our society is slowly shifting to a scenario where only the RICH, the FAST can survive and the misfits of this society will be thrown out without any consideration. Why can’t policies be framed in a way that both villages and cities flourish? Welcome FDI but with the rule that the raw materials must be brought only from India. Welcome FDI in retail with the clause that the vegetables and fruits have to be brought from our farmers while they can do the marketing. When these kind of policies where both hard workers who labor to earn and smart workers who earn from labor grow are made an equality can be stuck between the economy and reality. I hope the policy makers take every single citizen belonging to different strata of society into their minds before proposing and framing policies in the name of ‘development’.
And finally, I request people to buy vegetables and fruits from these small scale vendors. They sell it for survival and not with the aim of making huge profits. The middlemen involved do make profits, I agree with that fact but these ignorant retailers cannot be punished for that. Buying vegetables on road is not of poor quality excepting the fact that it’s not refrigerated. So, don’t hesitate to bend your back and buy vegetables from platform vendors.