India has ordered all the 4000 army retails operational across the nation to stop procuring foreign goods, the defense ministry said in an internal circulation, reviewed by Reuters news agency.
The ban, as per the circulation dated October 19, it states “procurement of direct imported items shall not be undertaken”, which will supposedly prevent the entry of foreign liquor brands among a plethora of other goods sold in these canteens.
The internal document did not specify which foreign goods will be affected by the ban, but foreign liquor could be one of them, sources told the news agency.
Foreign good sold in army canteens make upto 6-7% of the sales, with Chinese products like vacuum cleaners, diapers, laptops and other stuff make a bulk of the value, the report stated.
Army retails serve Indian Army veterans, servicemen, and their families with goods like electronics, groceries, and even luggage at subsidized rates. These retailers make one of India’s most lucrative chain stores in the nation with annual turnover of $2B.
Defense ministry spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, but the document reviewed by Reuters states that the move was planned by the Army fraternity well ahead and was made in-line with PM Modi’s push for domestic goods.
However, the move, if affect foreign liquors, could send the companies a wrong signal, an executive of a liquor brand who sells their product in the defence canteen told Reuters.
“The (foreign liquor) sales are small – but why would a government which is wanting to attract foreign investments do this? It’s a confusing, conflicting signal.”