Indian Economy And Liberalization Business Essay

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The economy of India is the twelfth largest economy in the world by nominal value and the fourth largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). In the 1990s, following economic reform from the socialist-inspired economy of post-independence India, the country began to experience rapid economic growth, as markets opened for international competition and investment. In the 21st century, India is an emerging economic power with vast human and natural resources, and a huge knowledge base. Economists predict that by 2020, India will be among the leading economies of the world.

India was under social democratic-based policies from 1947 to 1991. The economy was characterised by extensive regulation, protectionism, and public ownership, leading to pervasive corruption and slow growth. Since 1991, continuing economic liberalisation has moved the economy towards a market-based system. A revival of economic reforms and better economic policy in 2000s accelerated India's economic growth rate. By 2008, India had established itself as the world's second-fastest growing major economy. However, the year 2009 saw a significant slowdown in India's official GDP growth rate to 6.1% as well as the return of a large projected fiscal deficit of 10.3% of GDP which would be among the highest in the world.

(Economy of India - Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia)

Liberalization in the Early 1990s

Increased borrowing from foreign sources in the late 1980s, which helped fuel economic growth, led to pressure on the balance of payments. The problem came to a head in August 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the price of oil soon doubled. In addition, many Indian workers resident in Persian Gulf states either lost their jobs or returned home out of fear for their safety, thus reducing the flow of remittances. The direct economic impact of the Persian Gulf conflict was exacerbated by domestic social and political developments. In the early 1990s, there was violence over two domestic issues: the reservation of a proportion of public-sector jobs for members of Scheduled Castes and the Hindu-Muslim conflict at Ayodhya. The central government fell in November 1990 and was succeeded by a minority government. The cumulative impact of these events shook international confidence in India's economic viability, and the country found it increasingly difficult to borrow internationally. As a result, India made various agreements with the International Monetary Fund and other organizations that included commitments to speed up liberalization.

In the early 1990s, considerable progress was made in loosening government regulations, especially in the area of foreign trade. Many restrictions on private companies were lifted, and new areas were opened to private capital. However, India remains one of the world's most tightly regulated major economies. Many powerful vested interests, including private firms that have benefited from protectionism, labor unions, and much of the bureaucracy, oppose liberalization. There is also considerable concern that liberalization will reinforce class and regional economic disparities.

The balance of payments crisis of 1990 and subsequent policy changes led to a temporary decline in the GDP growth rate, which fell from 6.9 percent in FY 1989 to 4.9 percent in FY 1990 to 1.1 percent in FY 1991. In March 1995, the estimated growth rate for FY 1994 was 5.3 percent. Inflation peaked at 17 percent in FY 1991, fell to 9.5 percent in FY 1993, and then accelerated again, reaching 11 percent in late FY 1994. This increase was attributed to a sharp increase in prices and a shortfall in such critical sectors as sugar, cotton, and oilseeds. Many analysts agree that the poor suffer most from the increased inflation rate and reduced growth rate.

In the revised 2007 figures, based on increased and sustaining growth, more inflows into foreign direct investment, Goldman Sachs predicts that "from 2007 to 2020, India's GDP per capita in US$ terms will quadruple", and that the Indian economy will surpass the United States (in US$) by 2043. In spite of the high growth rate, the report stated that India would continue to remain a low-income country for decades to come but could be a "motor for the world economy" if it fulfils its growth potential.]Goldman Sachs has outlined 10 things that it needs to do in order to achieve its potential and grow 40 times by 2050. These are:-

1. Improved governance

2. Raise educational achievement

3. Increase quality and quantity of universities

4. Control inflation

5. Introduce a credible fiscal policy

6. Liberalize financial markets

7. Increase trade with neighbours

8. Increase agricultural productivity

9. Improve infrastructure and

10. Improve environmental quality.


Retail has played a major role world over in increasing productivity across a wide range of consumer goods and services .The impact can be best seen in countries like U.S.A., U.K., Mexico, Thailand and more recently China.

Economies of countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Dubai are also heavily assisted by the retail sector.

Retail is the second-largest industry in the United States both in number of establishments and number of employees. It is also one of the largest worldwide. The retail industry employs more than 22 million Americans and generates more than $3 trillion in retail sale annually. Retailing is a U.S. $7 trillion sector.

Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer. Already the world's largest employer with over 1million associates, Wal-Mart displaced oil giant Exxon Mobil as the world's largest company when it posted $219 billion in sales for fiscal 2001. Wal-Mart has become the most successful retail brand in the world due its ability to leverage size, market clout, and efficiency to create market dominance. Wal-Mart heads Fortune magazine list of top 500 companies in the world. Forbes Annual List of Billionaires has the largest number (45/497) from the retail business.


















Top Retailers Worldwide

Rank Retailer Home Country

1 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. U.S.A.

2 Carrefour Group France

3 The Kroger Co. U.S.A.

4 The Home Depot, Inc. U.S.A.

5 Metro Germany


Retailing involves all activities incidental to selling to ultimate consumer for their personnel family and household use. It does this by organizing their availability on a relatively large scale and supplying them to customers on a relatively small scale. Retailer is any person/organization instrumental in reaching the goods or merchandise or services to the end users. Retailer is a must and cannot be eliminated.

The Indian retailing industry is becoming intensely competitive, as more and more players are targeting for the same set of customers. The major retail players are Pantaloon Retail, Shoppers Stop, Reliance, etc..,Retailing is one of the biggest sectors and it is witnessing revolution in India. The new entrant in retailing in India signifies the beginning of retail revolution. India's retail market is expected to grow tremendously in next few years. According to AT Kearney, The Windows of Opportunity shows that Retailing in India was at opening stage in 1995 and now it is in growth stage in 2008. India's retail market is expected to grow tremendously in next few years. Retail market is expected to grow 10% a year, with modern retailing just beginning.

As the corporates - the Piramals, the Tatas, the Rahejas, ITC, S.Kumar's, RPG Enterprises, and mega retailers- Crosswords, Shopper's Stop, and Pantaloons race to revolutionize the retailing sector, retail as an industry in India is coming alive.

Retail sales in India amounted to about Rs.7400 billion in 2002, expanded at an average annual rate of 7% during 1999-2002. With the upturn in economic growth during 2003, retail sales are also expected to expand at a higher pace of nearly 10%. Across the country, retail sales in real terms are predicted to rise more rapidly than consumer expenditure during 2003-08. The forecast growth in real retail sales during 2003- 2008 is 8.3% per year, compared with 7.1% for consumer expenditure. Modernization of the Indian retail sector will be reflected in rapid growth in sales of supermarkets, departmental stores and hypermarts.

Sales from these large-format stores are to expand at growth rates ranging from 24% to 49% per year during 2003-2008, according to a latest report by Euromonitor International, a leading provider of global consumer-market intelligence. A. T. Kearney Inc. places India 6th on a global retail development index. The country has the highest per capita outlets in the world - 5.5 outlets per 1000 population. Around 7% of the population in India is engaged in retailing, as compared to 20% in the USA.

In a developing country like India, a large chunk of consumer expenditure is on basic necessities, especially food-related items. Hence, it is not surprising that food, beverages and tobacco accounted for as much as 71% of retail sales in 2002. The share of food related items had, however, declined over the review period, down from 73% in 1999. This is not unexpected, because with income growth, Indians, like consumers elsewhere, have started spending more on non-food items compared with food products. Sales through supermarkets and department stores are small compared with overall retail sales.

Nevertheless, their sales have grown much more rapidly, at almost a triple rate (about 30% per year during the review period). This high acceleration in sales through modern retail formats is expected to continue during the next few years, with the rapid growth in numbers of such outlets due to consumer demand and business potential.

The factors responsible for the development of the retail sector in India can be broadly summarized as follows:

ü Rising incomes and improvements in infrastructure are enlarging consumer markets

and accelerating the convergence of consumer tastes. Looking at income classification, the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) classified approximately 50% of the Indian population as low income in 1994- 95; this is expected to decline to 17.8% by 2006-07.

ü Liberalization of the Indian economy which has led to the opening up of the market for consumer goods has helped the MNC brands like Kellogs, Unilever, Nestle, etc. to make significant inroads into the vast consumer market by offering a wide range of choices to the Indian consumers.

ü Shift in consumer demand to foreign brands like McDonalds, Sony, Panasonic, etc.

ü The internet revolution is making the Indian consumer more accessible to the growing influences of domestic and foreign retail chains. Reach of satellite T.V. channels is helping in creating awareness about global products for local markets. About 47% of India's population is under the age of 20; and this will increase to 55% by 2015. This young population, which is technology-savvy, watch more than 50 TV satellite channels, and display the highest propensity to spend, will immensely contribute to the growth of the retail sector in the country. As India continues to get strongly integrated with the world economy riding the waves of globalization, the retail sector is bound to take big leaps in the years to come.

The Indian retail sector is estimated to have a market size of about $ 180 billion; but the organized sector represents only 2% share of this market. Most of the organized retailing in the country has just started recently, and has been concentrated mainly in the metro cities.

India is the last large Asian economy to liberalize its retail sector. In Thailand, more than 40% of all consumer goods are sold through the super markets and departmental stores. A similar phenomenon has swept through all other Asian countries. Organized retailing in India has a huge scope because of the vast market and the growing consciousness of the consumer about product quality and services.

A study conducted by Fitch, expects the organized retail industry to continue to grow rapidly, especially through increased levels of penetration in larger towns and metros and also as it begins to spread to smaller cities and B class towns. Fuelling this growth is the growth in development of the retail-specific properties and malls. According to the estimates available with Fitch, close to 25mn sq. ft. of retail space is being developed and will be available for occupation over the next 36-48 months. Fitch expects organized retail to capture 15%-20% market share by 2010.

The four stages or the lifecycle of this industry are as follows:


An introduction is the opening phase of a market and is one that is just entering Global Retail Development Index (GRDI). This index is based on more than 25 macro-economic and retail -specific variables for instance, the country risk includes parameters like political risk, economic risk, performance risk, financial risk and business risk. The market attractiveness covers retail sales per capita, urban population, laws and regulations and business efficiency.
At this stage, retailers should monitor and performing high-level assessments, they should plan for their entry strategies. India in the late 1990's is a good example in the opening stage, while in 2007; Kazakhstan was the country in introduction stage.


In growth stage, the market is developing quickly and also ready for modern retailing. Countries, which are in Peaking stage such as India. Retailers entering this stage have the best chance for long-term success. Retailers at this stage should enter through local representations, sourcing offices and new stores.


In this stage the market is still big and growing, but the space for new entrants will become tighter and retailers should act quickly at this stage because retailers at this stage have limited time to explore, and also their margin for error is thin. In general, they should act according to the established rules and should be open to face the competition from international retailers. This stage generally lasts longer than the previous two stages.


The window of opportunity is closing fast and modern retail share is reaching 40 to 60 percent. Though the opportunity is closing the existing retailers can enter with new formats such as discount models or non-food formats such as consumer electronics and apparel.
Window of opportunity ends for about 5 to 10years before a market enters the closing phase and reaches saturation level. India for example, was in the opening stage in 1995 and entered peaking stage in the year 2003 and reached number 1 rank in2005.


India is the only one country having the highest shop density in the world, with 11 outlets per 1000 people (12 million retail shops for about 209 million households). Rather the democratic scenario in Indian Retail (because of low level of centralization, low capital input and due to a good number of self organized retail).

Unorganized retailing, refers to the traditional formats of low-cost retailing, for example, hand cart and pavement vendors, & mobile vendors, the local kirana shops, owner manned general stores, paan/beedi shops, convenience stores, hardware shop at the corner of street selling everything from bathroom fittings to paints and small construction tools; or the slightly more organized medical store and a host of other small retail businesses in apparel, electronics, food etc.

Small-store (kirana) retailing has been one of the easiest ways to generate self-employment, as it requires limited investment in land, capital and labor. It is generally family run business, lack of standardization and the retailers who are running this store they are lacking of education, experience and exposure. This is one of the reasonswhy productivity of this sector is approximately 4% that of the U.S. retail industry.

In India, the most of the retail sector is unorganized. In India, the retail business contributes around 11 percent of GDP. Of this, the organized retail sector accounts only for about 3 percent share, and the remaining share is contributed by the unorganized sector which is mostly a family owned business in India. The main challenge facing the organized sector is the competition from unorganized sector. Unorganized retailing has been there in India for centuries, theses are named as mom-pop stores. The main advantage in unorganized retailing is consumer familiarity that runs from generation to generation. It is a low cost structure; they are mostly operated by owners, has very low real estate and labor costs and has low taxes to pay.

Unorganized retail sector is still predominating over organized sector in India, unorganized retail sector constituting 96-97% (twelve million) of total trade, while organized trade accounts only for 3-4%.

The reasons for the mushrooming and growth of the unorganized sector in India can possibly be:-

ü In smaller towns and urban areas, there are many families who are traditionally using these kirana shops/ 'mom and pop' stores offering a wide range of merchandise mix. Generally these kirana shops are the family business of these small retailers which they are running for more than one generation.

ü These kirana shops are having their own efficient management system and with this they are efficiently fulfilling the needs of the customer. This is one of the good reasons why the customer doesn't want to change their old loyal kirana shop.

ü A large number of working class in India is working as daily wage basis, at the end of the day when they get their wage, they come to this small retail shop to purchase wheat flour, rice etc for their supper. For them this the only place to have those food items because purchase quantity is so small that no big retail store would entertain this.

ü Similarly there is another consumer class who are the seasonal worker. During their unemployment period they use to purchase from this kirana store in credit and when they get their salary they clear their dues. Now this type of credit facility is not available in corporate retail store, so this kirana stores are the only place for them to fulfill their needs.

ü Another reason might be the proximity of the store. It is the convenience store for the customer. In every corner the street an unorganized retail shop can be found that is hardly a walking distance from the customer's house. Many times customers prefer to shop from the nearby kirana shop rather than to drive a long distance organized retail stores.

ü These unorganized stores are having n number of options to cut their costs. They incur little to no real-estate costs because they generally operate from their residences.

ü Their labor cost is also low because the family members work in the store. Also they use cheap child labor at very low rates.


In late 1990's the retail sector has witnessed a level of transformation. Retailing is being perceived as a beginner and as an attractive commercial business for organized business i.e. the pure retailer is starting to emerge now. Organized retail business in India is very small but has tremendous scope.

The Indian retail market, which is the fifth largest retail destination globally, has been ranked as the most attractive emerging market for investment in the retail sector by AT Kearney's eighth annual Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), in 2009. As per a study conducted by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), the retail sector is expected to contribute to 22 per cent of India's GDP by 2010.

With rising consumer demand and greater disposable income, the US$ 400 billion Indian retail sector is clocking an annual growth rate of 30 per cent. It is projected to grow to US$ 700 billion by 2010, according to a report by global consultancy Northbridge Capital. The organized business is expected to be 20 per cent of the total market by then. In 2008, the share of organized retail was 7.5 per cent or US$ 300 million of the total retail market.

A McKinsey report, 'The rise of Indian Consumer Market', estimates that the Indian consumer market is likely to grow four times by 2025. Commercial real estate services company, CB Richard Ellis' findings state that India's retail market has moved up to the 39th most preferred retail destination in the world in 2009, up from 44 last year.

India continues to be among the most attractive countries for global retailers. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows as on September 2009, in single-brand retail trading, stood at approximately US$ 47.43 million, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

India's overall retail sector is expected to rise to US$ 833 billion by 2013 and to US$ 1.3 trillion by 2018, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent. As a democratic country with high growth rates, consumer spending has risen sharply as the youth population (more than 33 percent of the country is below the age of 15) has seen a significant increase in its disposable income. Consumer spending rose an impressive 75 per cent in the past four years alone. Also, organized retail, which is pegged at around US$ 8.14 billion, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40 per cent to touch US$ 107 billion by 2013.

The organized retail sector, which currently accounts for around 5 per cent of the Indian retail market, is all set to witness maximum number of large format malls and branded retail stores in South India, followed by North, West and the East in the next two years. Tier II cities like Noida, Amritsar, Kochi and Gurgaon, are emerging as the favored destinations for the retail sector with their huge growth potential.

Further, this sector is expected to invest around US$ 503.2 million in retail technology service solutions in the current financial year. This could go further up to US$ 1.26 billion in the next four to five years, at a CAGR of 40 per cent.

Moreover, many new apparel brands such as Zara, the fashion label owned by Inditex SA of Spain, UK garment chain Topshop, the Marc Ecko clothing line promoted by the US entrepreneur of the same name and the Japanese casual wear brand Uniqlo are preparing to open outlets in India.

Organized retailing will grow faster than unorganized sector and the growth speed will be responsible for its high market share, which is expected to be $ 17 billion by 2010-11.
Retailing will show good prospects in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Kanpur. After Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong, In India Delhi will be the next big retail destination, According to Confederation of Indian Industries whose findings have shown that Delhi has the good resources and good conditions for the retail sector. Out of the total earnings of the Government of Delhi Rs 11,000 Crore, Rs 6,500 Crore is achieved from the retail sector.
The organized sector is expected to grow faster than GDP growth in next few years driven by favourable demographic patterns, changing lifestyles, and strong income growth. This organized retail sector mix includes supermarkets, hypermarkets discounted stores and specialty stores, departmental stores.

Growth drivers in India for retail sector:

v Rising incomes and improvements in infrastructure are enlarging consumer markets and accelerating the convergence of consumer tastes.

v Liberalization of the Indian economy

v Increase in spending per capita Income.

v Advent of dual income families also helps in the growth of retail sector.

v Shift in consumer demand to foreign brands.

v Consumer preference for shopping in new environment.

v The Internet revolution is making the Indian consumer more accessible to the growing influences of domestic and foreign retail chains. Reach of satellite T.V. channels is helping in creating awareness about global products for local markets.

v The increasing share of young population in total population of India.

v Availability of quality real estate and mall management practices.

v Foreign companies' attraction to India is the billion-plus population.

Present situation and future predictions