This is what FDI means for the Indian poor, in simple terms

Vinod K. Chand

What does FDI really mean?

FDI allows any foreign company to come to India and set up shop or factories here. Earlier this could be done only in partnership with Indian counterparts. This is good as they will come here and bring money to buy offices, apartments, frequent five star hotels and spend money for maintaining their life style.

Make in India CartoonAs they setup shops and factories here, they will employ Indians and maybe foreigners too at management level. This is good too as jobs will increase and Indian companies that are producing the same set of goods and services will face competition and they will pull up their socks and overall the customer will benefit with a better product and a lower price. Indians may finally get international quality products that are made in India.

These companies will earn profits, which they can then send to their own countries and 100% of it. This is bad as money will leave our country in the form of foreign currency. We will have to either increase our exports (in which these companies may also contribute) or reduce our imports (both not likely to happen at an accelerated pace).

As pure play, FDI may end up destroying many Indian companies that have been producing substandard goods and services and dishing them out to consumers because of lack of any alternative. With this death will come death of jobs. This is good as this will mean shaking out the dead wood. But it will also mean death of a consumer too. As people end up jobless, their purchasing capacity will decrease and die away.

But beyond economics, would you kill your neighbor or render him jobless just because you are getting a product or service that is marginally better at a cheaper price or would you support him through this phase by continuing to buy from him? That is the moral dilemma that we will all face. Would you like to buy from an Amazon or a Flipkart? Would you like to buy a Tata car or a Suzuki? Would you like to buy Kolhapuri Chappals or Nike Shoes? Would you want to eat at Nirula’s or order food from Burger King?

Your choice will decide whether Indian companies and enterprises survive or not. Finally this is a call for Swadeshi. And remember Mahatma Gandhi who gave this call was not a fool.