With traders and transporters deciding to keep the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) market shut on December 1 to protest the Centre's decision of allowing 51 per cent FDI in the country's retail sector, it's better you start stocking up essentials, as this token strike could lead to a temporary price rise.

Yesterday, the committee members had organised an anti-FDI rally at 2 pm.

Swadesi only: A protester displays an anti-FDI placard at the rally
called by APMC members yesterday. PIC/Datta Kumbhar

Confirming that all the retailers across Mumbai have pledged their support for the cause, Viren Shah, president of South Mumbai Vyapari Sangh, said, "On Thursday, all the retail shops across the city will remain shut."

Meanwhile, the Navi Mumbai Vyapari Sangh has threatened to go on an indefinite strike if the government fails to revoke its decision. Pramod Joshi, president of Navi Mumbai Vyapari Sangh, said, "We will go on an indefinite hunger strike and keep the market shut until the government changes its decision on FDI."

'Sinister govt'
Accusing the government of hatching a conspiracy against small-time retailers and transporters, Sanjay Pansare, director of fruits section at APMC market, said, "Recently, we have learnt through the media that several politicians and big businessmen have stashed black money in foreign banks. These corrupt people want that money to be invested in FDI to make it legal. If this happens, then small-time traders like us will be ruined."

Sudhir Tungar, additional secretary of Mumbai APMC, said, "On the Centre's recommendation, the state amended section 5 of Maharashtra Agriculture Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act in 2005. This allows traders to procure produce from farmers and sell in retail market directly." 

However, sources stated that due to economic and marketing limitations, just two per cent of traders are able to utilise the amendment to their advantage. However, retail giants like Walmart who are economically strong, can procure produce in bulk and distribute it via a well-organised marketing channel.

D K Joshi, chief economist at CRISIL, said, "It will not be appropriate to compare Goods and Sales Tax (GST) with FDI at this juncture as GST is yet to be introduced. However, in future, GST is likely to aid FDI, especially for logistic and warehouse business. But for this to happen, the country's investment climate needs improvement."