17th September 2012 To Smt Shiela Dixit Ji Chief Minister Delhi

Dear Smt. Shiela Dixit Ji This is with reference to your statement published in various newspapers regarding you welcoming the Central Govt.'s decision on allowing FDI in retail. In this statement you have said that your Govt. in Delhi will permit foreign retailers to do business in Delhi. Shiela Ji, when there is a widespread public debate going on in the nation on the issue of FDI in retail, when most of the large states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar including Congress ruled state like Kerala has decided not to allow the same in their respective states, then what is the hurry in allowing the same in Delhi? It seems that your govt. is treating the traders and consumers as "lab rats" for other states. Such experimentation with traders and consumers of Delhi should not be allowed. I would like to tall you very clearly that traders and consumers of Delhi are "No Lab Rats." In this regard, there are some questions that I would like to ask to you:-

1. Why such an important decision is being taken without taking Delhi's traders and common people into confidence? During last assembly election, there was no mention of FDI in retail in your manifesto. In fact even terms like "FDI" and "retail" were completely missing from the manifesto. It simply means that your Govt. do not have a mandate to take such an important decision related to lives and livelihood of citizens. 2. Further I would like to ask whether you or any representative of your govt. has ever tried to understand the impact of such decision on the livelihood of small traders, distributors and workers working in various retail centers of the city like Shahdra, Krishna Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh, Babarpur, Seelampur, Jafrabad, Maujpur, Saroijini Nagar etc.? 3. Shiela Ji, as a matter of fact, most of the people from our weaker sections like Muslim youth, working women from poor families, and youth from backward classes are directly and indirectly dependent on retail industry. This step of opening up retail sector for FDI will have direct impact on livelihood of minorities, women and other weaker sections of our society. Please tell us under what pressure is your Govt playing with the livelihood of these weaker sections of our society? 4. This decision of allowing FDI in retail will also affect entrepreneurship of our youth. Youth of Delhi who is known for its entrepreneurship and hard work, will end up working as sales boys and sales girls in these retail shops. This will kill the spirit of entrepreneurship among our youth. Why your Govt. has not thought of consulting our youth before taking such an important decision?

5. Why these foreign retailers are being allowed to make Delhi a dumping ground of cheap China made goods? 6. Municipal Corporations are a major stake holder on issues related to retail trade. Why such an important decision has been taken without taking Municipal corporations into confidence? Can retail business operate without consent from Municipal Corporations? 7. This decision has been taken without taking Municipal corporations into confidence, without consulting with traders and workers, without knowing the opinion of consumer groups and against the public will. This is not only an undemocratic decision but also against the spirit of our constitution. Why policy decisions related to lives and livelihood of common man are being taken in such a sneaked manner? In my opinion such policy decision should be taken only after wider public consultation. Before taking this decision your Govt. should have organized public discussions with all the stakeholders including traders, distributors, representatives from weaker sections of our society, Municipal corporations, RWAs, etc.

In this regard, I have decided that I will organize a Public Consultation with all these stakeholders in EDMC headquarter on 26th September 2012. I hope you will also come to join this public consultation and will inform people about reasons behind your decision. A formal invitation in this regard will soon be sent to your office. Please do not take any decision related to FDI in retail before this public consultation. Again I would like to

oppose the move to treat Delhi citizens as "Lab rats" in this matter.


Dr. Annapurna Mishra

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