THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Nearly one million traders in Kerala will down shutters on November 29 to protest the central government's decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in the multi-brand retail sector.
The protest call was given by the leading traders' body in the state, the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samity (KVVES), today.
The Centre's decision will grievously endanger the survival of traders in Kerala, a majority of whom are small and medium-scale shop-owners, KVVES leader T Nazaruddeen said.
"We have some 10 lakh traders in the state. Besides, 25 lakh others are employed by the shop-owners. Their livelihood would be in danger if the decision is pushed," Nazarudeen said in Kozhikode.
The KVVES leaders said they have conveyed their concerns over the matter to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, urging him to take up the matter with the Centre.
Domestic trade sources here said it would be difficult for them to compete with multi-national retail giants, who would be rushing to tap the huge Indian market opened up to them.
"They have plenty of capital, technology and logistics to procure goods and keep them for a long time. Local traders would find the going tough in such a scenario," KVVES sources said.
"Not only small and medium shop owners, but even wholesalers would be hit by this decision," a trader from Kollam town said.
In a major decision, the Union Cabinet yesterday approved 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, paving the way for global giants like WalMart to open mega stores in cities with a population of over one million.