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07 June 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog

Introduction : The article talks about the abolition of ambiguous policy of Indian government in FDI in retail sector to promote ease of doing business.

    • Given the Centre’s focus on attracting investment and improving India’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking, it is time it took an unambiguous stand on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retailing.
    • While it is true that the government has eased some rules relating to investment in single-brand retail operations, the norm on ‘sourcing’ locally remains a significant grey area, as reflected in the discussions around Apple’s plans for India.
    • In November, the Centre eased the rules permitting 100 per cent FDI in ‘Single Brand Product Retail Trading’ subject to the sourcing caveat —
    • The precondition being that companies with more than 51 per cent foreign ownership must source 30 per cent of the value of goods in India, preferably from medium, small or micro enterprises.
    • In isolation, the requirement of a certain proportion of domestic content in the products has a socio-economic relevance, given its potential to create jobs and protect livelihoods.
    • But the sourcing norm has inhibited FDI inflow; worse, it could fall foul of the WTO’s National Treatment norms.
    • The Centre therefore amended this condition allowing for an exemption to entities selling “products having ‘state-of-the-art’ and ‘cutting-edge’ technology”, and even more ambiguously, in cases “where local sourcing is not possible”.
    • Rather than get into a potentially convoluted debate about when exemptions should be given, the best course, given the circumstances, is to drop the sourcing condition altogether.
    • It is counterproductive and open to charges of arbitrariness.
    • Allowing Ministry officials the discretion to decide on what constitutes ‘cutting-edge’ technology or whether local sourcing is possible or not opens the door for less-than-transparent outcomes and the possibility of litigation.
    • A competitor that has invested in local manufacturing capacity would justifiably feel hard done by if a rival incorporating a similar level of technological advancement in its products were exempted.
    • The Centre’s stated objectives for relaxing FDI norms — “improving the availability of such goods for the consumer” and “enhancing the competitiveness of Indian enterprises through access to global designs, technologies and management practices” — would be rendered fruitless if overseas companies, subject to the whims of interpretation, opt out of either entering the market or from making significant investment.

Question:In order to boost the foreign capital inflow and ease of doing business, the policies should be made transparent and officials discretions should be minimized. Examine this statement relating to the ambiguity in FDI in retail policy.

Suggested Approach:

      1. Write about the ambiguous features of FDI in retail policy.
      2. How it is having a negative impact.
      3. Suggestions to improve it.


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07 June 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog
  • The World Bank defines social inclusion as the process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society.
  • Globally, persons with disabilities have been recognized as one of the largest minority groups which have been vulnerable to neglect, deprivation, segregation and exclusion. After India’s independence, the Government of India has accepted its responsibility to this sizable marginalized group and has formulated various programmes for the welfare and rehabilitation of people with disabilities.


  • People with disabilities face a wide range of barriers such as attitudinal, physical, and social that affects social inclusion.
    1. The attitudinal barrier such as negative attitude of society towards people with disabilities acts as a social stigma about disability. The society believes that disability in a person occurs due to past sin or karma and no one can change this situation as it is God’s punishment.
      The cumulative effects of these barriers is to marginalise people with disabilities from the mainstream of society and the economy. They experience disadvantage in many aspects of daily life compared with non-disabled people.
      Many of them feel isolated, unwanted and society may feel that they are a burden to society.Their families can also face negative attitudes, poverty and social exclusion.
  • Marginalization is at the core of exclusion from fulfilling and leading full social lives at individual, interpersonal and societal levels. Evidently, marginalization has multiple bases in the social structure.
    1. The problems of groups with multiple disadvantages due to disability are understood though cross-cutting of gender dimension with other social factors like caste, ethnicity, religion, location, region etc. Both, disability and gender are physical constraints that totally ignore the person.
      They are the most marginalized and the most abused- physically, mentally and socially and for centuries, have been subjected to deliberate neglect, verbal abuse, physical assault and sexual harassment.
  • Many children with disabilities in general usually lack the social skills necessary for peer interaction. They lack the basic communication skill which are important for relationship building.
    1. These skills are acquired through interactions with the primary social circle (family) and moving outward to other social circles such as relatives and peer groups.
      For people with disabilities, they are unable to utilize effective communication methods with the people around them which leads to a decrease in self-esteem and thereby affects their social inclusion.
  • The language used by the well-meaning force people with disabilities to accept that they themselves are responsible for their condition.
    1. They are denied opportunities to get education, employment and establish meaningful relationship with others.
  • Regarding physical barriers, it is difficult for many people with disabilities to find disability friendly surrounding environments. Commuters with disabilities are found to be highly vulnerable due to poor accessibility in infrastructure design of trains and railways station.
  • Regarding government policy to address different needs of people with different disabilities, they do not take a group of people with different disabilities into account, consult or involve, while framing policy design delivery.
    1. Too often, people with disabilities feel that they are fighting a system which is fragmented, complex and bureaucratic and which does not put the needs of disabled people at the heart of improving their life chances and social inclusion.
      This political and legal process leads to isolation, marginalization of people with disabilities and results in social exclusion.


  • The demand for social inclusion are, in fact, a protest against the oppression that society has been exercising. Removal of above said various barriers is the key to empowering people with disabilities and giving them the opportunity to exercise their responsibility as citizens.
    1. Tackling these barriers is not a matter of government alone but people with disabilities themselves, employers, health professionals, educators, local communities, and providers of goods and services, all have a key role in improving the life chances and adequate social

Inclusion for people with Disabilities.

    • It must be carefully planned, provided with adequate resources and implemented with vision:
      1. 1. Sensitization/Awareness programmes for different stakeholders about different types of disabilities, their needs, their capabilities.
        2. In service training for different stakeholders to increase the knowledge about disability, to develop skills while working with them and to change their attitude towards disability and people with disabilities.
        3. Need to focus on strength, perspectives and abilities of people with disabilities and encourage them to empower themselves.
        4. Need to make compulsory, course on disability and pedagogy of teaching for children having different types of disabilities to B.Ed and M.Ed teachers training curriculum.
        5. The people with disabilities must have access to opportunities to contribute to the society supported by both specialist and mainstream policy.
        6. People with disabilities’ needs should be actively incorporated early on within all mainstream policy design and delivery, alongside other citizens.
        7. People with disabilities’ experience of government support and services needs to change. There is aneed to develop adequate dialogue between them.
        8. Need to adopt universal design for barrier free and inclusion environment.

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