After farming, retailing is India’s major occupation. It employs 40 million people. A sizeable majority of owner/employees are in the business because of lack of other opportunities.
The decade of liberalisation has so far been one of jobless growth. It is no wonder that retail has become the refuge of these millions. Lopsided economic development is transforming India from an agrarian economy directly to a service oriented post-industrial society.
The Indian retail industry is highly fragmented. According to AC Nielsen and KSA Technopak, India has the highest shop density in the world. In 2001, it was estimated that there were 11 outlets for every 1000 people. Since the agriculture sector is over-crowded and the manufacturing sector stagnant, millions of young Indians are virtually forced into the service sector.
The presence of more than one retailer for every hundred persons is indicative of how many people are being forced into this form of self employment, despite limitations of capital and space.
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