Indian traders protest against Walmart-Flipkart deal

New Delhi: Members of Swadeshi Jagran Manch protest agaimnst Walmart in New Delhi on Thursday. The U.S. retailer on Wednesday acquired 77 percent of stake in Flipkart. PTI Photo by Atul Yadav(PTI5_10_2018_000049B)

Vastavam web: A day after U.S. retail giant Walmart struck its largest deal with a big ticket investment in Indian online marketplace Flipkart, a right-wing Hindu group that fears small traders will suffer staged a protest in New Delhi calling for the deal to be scrapped.Walmart said on Wednesday it would pay some $16 billion for a roughly 77 percent stake in the Indian e-commerce firm, stepping up competition with rival Amazon.com in a major growth market.

For Modi, appeasing small traders and farmers, who are part of the BJP’s core constituency, is as important as upholding India’s image as a place that welcomes foreign investment.Officials have been advised not to comment on the Walmart-Flipkart deal, a senior government official said. The ruling party has previously opposed foreign direct investment in the multi-brand retail sector.The Communist Party of India (Marxist) also taunted the Modi government, noting the BJP had decried such investments when it was in the opposition and accusing it of betraying promises.However, Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon told media in New Delhi on Thursday that it was open to the idea of setting up stores via a franchise model in the future. It already operates wholesale stores in the country.

“We can be very flexible. I think as a company not just in India, but around the world, the concept of franchising isn’t out of bounds,” said McMillon, adding Walmart was not yet ready to make any such announcements.