Small retailers fear loss of livelihood and income from mega stores of transnational corporations following the cabinet's decision on Thursday to allow up to 51% FDI in multi-brand retail terming the move as "a bailout package for large corporations".
"The decision will not only harm retailers but will also affect other sectors depending upon the retail trade for their livelihood," said Praveen Kandelwal, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
"If such stores start sprouting up in the vicinity, it might force us to close our shops because people largely come to CR Park to shop for fish. A large grocery and hardware store in the area will force us to relocate to some other area....We have been here since the last 40 years. It is unfair to expect us to close down business," said Manik Das, who runs a grocery store in Chittaranjan Park.
However, some shopowners are not treating this as an impending threat.
"We have been running our shop for the last 20 years. Customers know us very well, so we don't feel threatened by any such new ventures....A private store was started here, but it couldn't match up to our competition," said Dinesh Sharma, who runs a grocery story store in Sarita Vihar.
Shopowners in the already established markets have already been catering to customers of all income groups and commensurately stocking up on products to provide stiff competition to the newer, private shops.
"Kailash Colony market in itself caters to a very niche clientele. Largely the residents here don't go anywhere else to shop for basic items because we have all Indian and fancy goods in our store...This is not really going to be too much of a threat," said Mohan Gupta, who has been operating out of the market for the last 6 years.