For all the bad in the world, blame BJP and PM Modi seems to be Congress party’s one-point programme. It argues that the crisis in Parle-G also is a Modi government’s doing. As Parle-G reportedly said that it is contemplating to lay off some ten thousand employees due to a ‘slowdown’, the Congress and a section of opinion makers are arguing that it is a symptom that the economy is in danger under Modi rule. Even the statement from Parle-G as reported in media has partially blamed GST for their predicament. But how much does the company’s market fate has to do with the current government’s policy? Did this slowdown happen only after GST implementation? Before we look at these facts, let’s see how a particular narrative against the government is shaping up.
Parle-G Slowdown Started in Congress Era
The slowdown in the glucose biscuit segment was widely reported back in 2012. If Congress now chooses to blame Modi government for the market loss of Parle-G, then it should be held responsible for the developments that had been reported when they were at the helm.
In December 2012, Parle-G had said that it is moving to snacks and sweets segment since biscuit growth was seeing a slowdown.
Back in November 2012 itself, there were indications that the consumers’ liking was witnessing a shift from glucose biscuits to cookies and cream biscuits according to this report in The Economic Times. Whether companies like Parle-G faced any hurdles in diversifying their business in tune with the changing time may be subject of another research. But to blame the current government for a possible behavioral shift in the market and a company’s potential to respond to such situations is absurd.
The fact that biscuits were losing sheen in the rural market was also reported in the year 2012. Though bad monsoon in that particular year was blamed prima facie, there were also deeper analysis that signaled the bleak days ahead. A report from Live Mint had observed:
“Biscuit makers have been passing on higher costs of inputs such as wheat, sugar and edible oil to shoppers by hiking their product prices at a time when consumers in Asia’s third largest economy are struggling with inflation and slowing economic growth.”
So, it is frivolous to blame the government for a marketing loss of a brand. When it comes to GST, every product wants a relief in tax. The Government has kept the essential commodities like milks and fruits out of tax ambit. Does anyone in their right sense argue that instead of those items biscuits and other confectionaries should get tax benefits?
Thus, making too much out of Parle-G’s possible lay offs and suggesting that India’s industries as a whole are going down the drain is just misleading. More importantly, the leading opposition party needs to rise above frivolities and push genuine policy discourse.