Bharatiya Janata Party\'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has said that country\'s millions of family-owned traders must learn to work with large modern stores and online retailers, in comments that could signal a shift in thinking. He spoke at three events in the national capital.
Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has said that country's millions of family-owned traders must learn to work with large modern stores and online retailers, in comments that could signal a shift in thinking. He spoke at three events in the national capital.
The BJP opposes a policy to allow foreign supermarkets to open in India, which it says is a threat to millions of grocery stores and traders who are a backbone of the party's support.
Sketching out his economic views ahead of a general election likely to be held in April and May, Modi declined to reiterate that stance or oppose a proposal to allow foreign investment in online shopping, which is growing rapidly in India.
Instead, he said small traders should put an emphasis on the quality of their products to compete better. He said they could enter into contracts with big online retailers to create "virtual trade".
"We should not worry about the challenges from global trade," Modi told a meeting of the confederation of all-India traders. "The government should not look to curb online trade. We should not worry about these things; our children have taken IT to the world. We'll have to embrace it."
Modi also said he favoured introducing a nation-wide goods and services tax (GST), a long-planned reform to usher in a uniform market, cut business costs and boost government revenue.
The country's states have stood in the way of a GST, fearing that they would face revenue losses if the current array of inefficient levies were replaced.
The Gujarat chief minister is campaigning on the back of a record of strong growth over more than a decade in office. But until Thursday he had given few details about how he would steer the economy, which has seen growth at its slowest in a decade.