Even though the demands to boycott Chinese goods are becoming shriller day by day after the violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Galway Valley in Ladakh, questions remain whether it can be implemented on the ground.
Looking for answers, IANS visited Karol Bagh to hear the views of those involved in the sale of electronics and electrical appliances imported from the communist country in national capital Delhi. Traders said it was not easy to forego Chinese products.
The Gaffar Market in Karol Bagh sells items like China-made mobile phones, power banks, headphones, earphones, pen drives, mobile chargers, memory cards, and data cables etc.
Shopkeepers in the market said that 80 to 95 percent of such items sold in the market were imported from China and people preferred to buy these since these were cheaper.
Municipal Market Traders Association Vice President Honey Handa said: “If we boycott the products of any company, obviously they will lose money. But we don’t have manufacturing facilities in India. Mobile phones are assembled in our country but the raw material (parts) comes from China. It is not easy to boycott Chinese products. We will have to first prepare for such a scenario.”
Karol Bagh has 2,500 to 3,000 shops selling mobile phones and accessories, with Gaffar Market accounting for 300 to 400 of these.
Gaffar Market shopkeeper Gurdeep Singh said: “Mostly, China-made products are sold in the market. If such products are banned, the Rs 2.5 lakh daily sale will go and finish the market. Will we then sell rajma-chawal?”
He said that a 2-yard shop in the market commanded Rs 60,000 monthly rent and each shop had at least four salesmen. The ban on Chinese products will have a very bad effect since 90 percent of the sales was in such items, he pointed out.
Another shopkeeper said the government of India should come up with policy changes if it wants people not to buy Chinese products. “Indian mobile phones are costly compared with the Chinese ones, though the profit margins could be slightly more or less,” he said.
He also said that 75 to 95 percent of the mobile phones and accessories available in Gaffar Market and nearby shops were of Chinese origin.
Delhi Mobile Traders Association member Sunny said: “The first step is to uninstall the Chinese software. Then the government should extend support in setting up factories in India, though it will take time. When these products” manufacturing starts in India, the government should ban Chinese products.”
Though back covers of mobile phones and chargers are made in India, the raw material comes from China, he pointed out. “The biggest challenge India faces is of production,” he remarked.