FDI in multi-brand retail market was a hot topic for discussion recently. Due to lot of hue and cry from various political parties and NGOs, government has selved the proposal for time being. Though FDI is good for economy in general as it brings investment, advanced technology and manegrial skills, in addition to creating employment to the host country, but , the same can not be true in all the cases, and may bring many disadvantages in many cases as in case of retail market. In retail market, the need in India is to create better storage and transportation facilities especially for grocery and other food , vegetables and dairy products, so that demand and supply could be matched efficiently for benifits of both producers and consumers, as on one hand producer is not getting sufficient price for his produce due to lack of accessibility to larger consumer bases in time and on other hand consumers are paying through their nose due to poor availability of goods due to lack of efficient storage, transportation and distribution infrastructures. To achieve the same India need not depend on foreign investors as domestic investors are capable of addressing these challenges and they need to be incentivised through various policy measures to invest in the same.
The major concern and apprehension that FDI in retail maket will put street vendors, hawker and petty shop owners out of job is not correct as it may provide a different kind of employment requiring more skills, and petty shop owners, hawkers and street vendors will still be there to serve the need of a targeted group of consumers and probably they may have to change the geographical location of their operation. However, if FDI is permitted, it will provide way to pump foreign goods in big way in India that may be quite detrimental to Indian industries and agriculture, as in consumers market by and large India is self sufficient and its economy is working well even during global reccession mainly due to in-house production and consumption. The lesson needs to be learnt from FDI in soft drink by Coca Cola and Pepsi who eliminated indegenous soft drink industry.
Global warming and in turn climate change has posed a major threat to this planet and consequently it has drawn greater attention of policy makers as well as general public in many countries. Several studies in past few years have suggested that global temperature has been rising in near past and this trend would be continued if emission of green house gases (GHG) are not arrested and brought under the permissible limits. One of the major reasons attributed by scientist for global warming and in turn climate change is anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide that is major constituent of GHG. As per IPCC ( Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) global warming is likely to cause extreme weather conditions, variability in precipitation causing severe and frequent floods and draughts in varying degree depending on different geographical region adversely affecting agriculture, living conditions and human life; sea level rise, increase in tropical cyclone.
Major floods in recent past in various parts world has buttressed our belief that global warming is capable of devastating the human life due to unpredictably high variation in precipitation. Current floods in Thailand and Italy and recent past floods in Queensland in Autralia, Pakistan, Brazil and Sri Lanka in 2010/2011 have taken hundreds of lives and displaced thousands of people in each country affected by flood. However, still there are groups of scientists and policy makers that do not want to accept this fact that these devastating floods are due to global warming and in turn climate change. Perhaps by accepting this fact by these policy makers and scientists may put their country in a situation to do more to mitigate climate change, as by and large they belong to those countries whose accumulated cumulative emmissions is very high since industrial revolution.
This is a global problem that has been anthropogenically created by every one. Some countries have contributed very much especially the highly industrialised one and some very less especially least developed countries and developing one. Accordingly, the share of mitigation burden should also be shared almost in the same proportion. Unfortunately the developed countries despite their technical, financial and institutional capability are not doing much to reduce GHG in order to mitigate climate change commensurate with their cumulative emmission and expecting developing and developed world to do more than that commensurate with their cumulative emissions. In this process the major sufferers are people of least devolped countries and developing countries who have no technical, financial and institutional capability and resources for either mitigation or adaptation. However, developed countries are comparatively more capable of adapting to climate change and their efforts on this issue are more directed towards adaptation rather that mitigation.
The main problem is that benifit of mitigation of climate change undertaken by one country goes to all countries, but benifits of adaptation goes to that country who undertakes adaptation. The need of the hour is that all the countries especially the developed one should work more for mitigation rather than adaptation as its benifit would be garnered by all the countries. And if developed countries think that with more adaptation measures they will be able to save them from scourge of climate change, then probably they are thoroughly mistaken as more intense climate change in absence of adequate mitigation effot will swept awaay all their adaptation infrastructure, and this is evident from many such disasters in past.
 IPCC WG1 AR4 Report, Global Climate Projections formulated response strategies. The First Assessment Report of IPCC served as the basis for negotiating the United Nations. Retrieved on 06/05/ 2008 from http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch10.pdf
In democracy, government must be responsive to legitmate aspirations of its people. In strong and vibrant democracies, if government fails to fulfill the aspeirations of people, then civil societies come forward to fight for the same. Anna's movement in India is an example of the same. Most of the Indian people have been bearing the scourge of corruption since long and as a result development of common people specially downtrodden has been compromised. Even after more than half century of independence corruption could not be controlled, as it is evedent from the corruption perception index issued to India by various organizations working in this field. Transparency International has ranked India at Sl. No.87, where Denmark is at the top of the list being least corrupt country and Somalia is most corrupt among 178 countries in 2010 corruption perception ranking index. Though, there was anguish among the public at large against corruption, but it remained hidden due to lack of credible leadership. And when a credible leadership emerged to fight for this cause, many civil societies also came forward to support this cause whole heartedly, and government had to bow down to consider their proposal,even going against the procedures and norms followed. This is a very good sign for a strong and vibrant democracy.
Having said above, it can not be advocated and agreed that legitmate responsbility of Parliament of drafting and passing a legislation is shifted outside parliament and outside constitutional framework. The Parliament symbolically represents the people of entire country in a democratic set up and any decision taken by majority in Parliament under constitutional framework should be considered by and large the decision of entire country. So what is rationale for adopting Anna's version of draft bill on Lokpal setting aside government draft. There are set of procedures for passing a legislation, where a bill after its introduction in either house of Parliament is send to Standing Committee of parliment on the subject where members across political parties deliberate and scruitnise clause by clause of bill, and they have mechanism to invite the views of various stake holders and interest groups while scrutinising the various provisions of the bill. And if any suggestion was not acceptible same could have been communicated stating the reasond. In this case also government could have invited comments from Anna team on bill drafted by others and put the same before Standing Committee to scruitnize, and whereever suggestions of any group were not acceptable same could have been communicated to various stake holders and interest groups and public also through print and electronic media stating clear reasons be it political, administrative, financial etc.
However, government failed in convincing team anna and large number of people supporting Anna that government is sincere in bringing an effective and strong piece of legislation to curb corruption. Apprehension of ruling governmet was that BJP is supporting this movement and success of this movement would benifit opposition political party mainly BJP and erode its vote bank in favour BJP. This wide mistrust between government and team Anna and failure of government in convincing team Anna and public to follow the standard procedure of taking views of public and stakeholder led to this situation that government had to bow down before team Anna in order to save its electoral base. Though the intentions of Anna were good and demands might have been legitmate, but method used by Anna to force his version of bill was not legitmate. However, pressure of public and civil society led by Anna is worth appreciating for strethening democracy in India.