India's newspapers have been stumping for Manmohan Singh's move to open the retail sector to foreign players like Walmart for the past week, even as opponents of the measure have prevented parliament from conducting any business over the first week of the monthlong winter session.
So far, it looks like they haven't had much impact. Singh's Congress party has had to promised to freeze the move -- which was established by an executive decision and did not require a bill to be passed in the parliament -- to prevent a rebellion by two key allies in the United Progressive Alliance coalition. But worse than that, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have vowed that they'll continue to shut down the legislature until Singh takes the move back entirely. (Rollback, Not Holdback, was above the fold on the front pages of all the Indian rags today).
Here's a characteristic example of the kind of lobbying that the English press is pushing.
The opposition to foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail business by some opposition parties in India is utterly regressive. FDI in retail will enable massive investments in the India's trade and supply chain structures, reduce and stabilise prices, ensure improved training and development of staff and hygienic work environments. It will also provide consumers with better and fresher choices in all product categories.
The Economic Times is obviously a business paper. But we've gotten much the same from the general interest papers -- though lately they've turned to berating the Congress and Singh for its clumsy handling of the situation.