FDI in Retail in India

The debate rages on.
This is one area where ringing in the new may not be quite what the nation needs....
Instead of the friendly neighbourhood, dhoti-clad grocer selling you rice, atta and dal, you will be piling up all sorts of mostly superfluous items on to your shopping trolley and get checked out of store by young, suited and booted, extra-polite MBA degree holders.
Among the many pros and cons of the issue of FDI in retail, I am concerned that the aspects of consumerism and environmental burden receive no mention at all. We already have plenty of supermarket chains chock-a-block. In the race to offer items at cheaper rates, supermarkets outdo each other with very alluring offers. Those who can afford it, will continue to make use of these offers, even if they do not need the item!
All these chains most likely include CSR departments, whose most evident job is to put out notices of reduced plastic / polythene use, even as more items are packaged attractively in plastic. Why is nobody addressing issues of extended producer responsibility and solid waste management, other than cursory unimplementable notifications from the MoEF? It is ironical, besides being disgusting, to see the cityscape and the countryside littered with waste packaged in Big Retail’s branded carry bags. Amazingly, the average customer does not realise the ruse of charging additionally for the carry bag - the cost ought to act as a deterrent. Couldn't-care-less shoppers, however, happily dish out the change. (See Explicit pricing of carry bags contained in Ministry of Environment and Forests Notification, dated 4 February 2011, amended up to 2.7.2011).
Perhaps the need of the hour is to regulate existing supermarket / hypermarket / megamart / ultra-chains to display enough social responsibility in all aspects of their operation, and also to regulate quality standards in unorganised retail, instead of introducing international chains who will add to the existing civic burden.
PS: Don't look for political shades - this is just someone batting for the environment.

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