14 January 2006

Brand New Policy

"Brand New Policy" screamed the headlines of the first page of a Indian Daily newspaper. I though they had announced the minimum wage policy, finally or they were going to introduce a public health insurance scheme. No! it was a flashy LUXURY CONFERENCE on Friday 13 Jan.

The commerce minister Kamal Nath said “ Luxury Brands do not pose a threat. You will not have to wait for long to see this happen”, referring to foreign direct investment in high end retailing.

Luxury brand hawker, Ginaluca Brozetti, CEO Asprey & Garrard said “India belongs to the world of luxury.. It has extreme potential but is a difficult market”.

“We sell dreams, not handbags” says Robert Polet, CEO Gucci group.

But what’s up down on the street, the Gen X and the luxury hawkers have forgotten the common man. 80% of the Indian population cannot access this luxury market and are fighting to survive with rising prices and inflation.

“Today, Luxury and necessity go hand in hand and the gap between them is being bridged fast” says P.R.S Oberoi, Chairman & CEO Oberoi group.

But how Mr. Oberoi can you say that? Do you really think that in the slums of Bombay, that they prefer a Gucci handbag to eating a decent meal. Do you think that the people of India need a ‘American’ style Shopping Mall selling luxury goods or a hospital? Do you think we need Chanel perfumes or do we need water on the tap? Do you think we need to buy an Ipod or just have electricity without power cuts?

Then you says this is going to create jobs! But for whom dear ladies and gentlemen of the India Inc, because I don’t see the common people in your offices, or if they are they are your cleaners and office boys and drivers, underpaid slaves to your luxurious life style.

You try hard to believe that India is becoming like any other western state… but just because you live in your air-conditioned houses and ride your air-conditioned cars and shop at the air-conditioned shopping Malls.
We don’t, India doesn’t… and they will not… because they cannot afford it… because you don’t pay the salaries… you don’t participate in the development of infrastructure… you don’t care about the people of India…

But beware… don’t push them more than they can bear… It has happened before and it can happen again. And it is your head that will roll… BEWARE the wrath of the people!

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