Quote, unquote: Reaction to India's latest push for retail reform
"The Cabinet has taken many decisions today to bolster economic growth and make India a more attractive destination for foreign investment. I believe that these steps will help strengthen our growth process and generate employment in these difficult times. I urge all segments of public opinion to support the steps we have taken in national interest" - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh takes to Twitter to defend his reform plans, including allowing more foreign investment in retail.
"Sometimes speech is silver and silence is golden. We are not party to it. We are not supporting these anti-people decisions. We are very much serious about these developments and ready to take hard decisions if these issues are not reconsidered. Yes, we need reforms. But reform does not mean to sell out everything to satisfy some sections of individuals. In a democratic set up, reforms must reach upto the poor and common people and the beauty of democracy lies on realizing its responsibility towards the common people" - Facebook postings from Mamata Banerjee, founder and leader of All India Trinamool Congress, Chief Minister of West Bengal and member of India's ruling coalition.
"This reflects the resolve of the government to usher in a retail revolution in the country and also signal to the investor community that India is committed to furthering reforms" - R. V. Kanoria, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
"What is very important for us to think about is what is in the interest of the country. The fact the government has come up with this once again clearly indicates it has been a thought-through process" - Deloitte Haskins & Sells partner Anil Tuneja is confident the Indian government will succeed in implementing the reforms.
"This policy change will allow us to connect directly with the consumer and save them money. By being stores of the community, we will also help them live better. We are willing and able to invest in back-end infrastructure that will help reduce wastage of farm produce, improve the livelihood of farmers, lower prices of products and ease supply-side inflation" - Raj Jain, president of Wal-Mart Stores' Indian business and MD of the US retailer's local venture Bharti Walmart.
"If FDI comes in infrastructure it's okay, but not in agriculture. They want our markets. Shiny markets won't help farmers. We won't allow this in Bihar [state]. FDI will make the farmer a slave in the end" - Nitish Kumar, chief minister of east Indian state Bihar.
From a sustainability standpoint, 2012 might be characterised as a year when the world went backwards - or at a pinch stayed still - but the food industry moved forward, writes Ben Cooper....
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