Monday, May 31, 2010

Can Retail succeed where politics and diplomacy seems to be stuck?

The North Eastern part of our country has never been the center stage whether it was in terms of politics or commerce. In fact people from the North East have migrated to other parts of India and are slowly becoming a dominant factor in the Retail work force as per a recent media report.

It is in this region that our brotherly neighbor who was till recently our bhai bhai, started playing visa games by issuing a visa on separate pieces of paper under the pretext that the visa is actually an internal travel document and not a visa. In that context, it would do well for anyone who thinks of this as a supportive gesture that, in India, one can travel anywhere without any such “internal travel document”. Anyone can wake up tomorrow and book tickets to go to Leh or Kanya Kumari or Porbandar or Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh. That’s India and one of the many reasons why I am proud to be an Indian.

Anyways, let’s get back to the topic at hand.

I have been reading about how our friendly neighbor has been insisting that a large portion of the north eastern area is actually not a part of India!!!

A few days ago I read a report in Business Line dated 12/5/10 that retail outlets such as Arrow, Titan, Big Bazaar, etc., are making a beeline for this region. When a few Retailers go, others can’t be far behind.

So, will India do a repeat of the East India Company in reverse? Will Indian Retailers establish such a strong presence and more importantly a consumer base, that our friendly neighbor’s claims are no longer tenable?

I think this is possible and my Retail brethren should prove me right by opening as many stores as possible in the “7 Sister states” as possible to create a vast customer base, who are a part of the larger Indian Customer base.

Last, but not the least is the reality of economic growth that Retail will bring to this region and bind it to India forever. And in that context, the Government of India should encourage any Retailer who is ready to take this step without turning a blind eye to the same.

Jai Hind.


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