The Central government has ordered the 4,000 Army Canteens in the country to no more shop and sell imported goods. The move is a big blow for not only the army men in the country but also for foreign liquor firms such as Diageo and Pernod Ricard.
The army canteens, for the unaware, are retail chains in India that sell items like liquor, electronics among others at a subsided price to soldiers, ex-servicemen and their families.
As per a report by NDTV, an October 19 internal order from the defence ministry said that in the future, “procurement of direct imported items shall not be undertaken”.
Further, the report adds that the order has been in discussion since May this year. The decision, which is said to be supported by the army, air force and navy, aims to promote the Prime Minister’s aim to make India self-reliant and promote Indian-made goods.
To note, the report didn’t mention the list of products that have been banned from being imported but sources suggest that liquor is one of them. Liquor is one of the most frequently purchased items at the canteens.
Imports make up around 6-7% of the total sales value in the defence shops. The canteens also import Chinese products like diapers, vacuum cleaners, handbags and laptops, etc.
The brands, Pernod and Diageo haven’t commented on the reports doing the round as of now.
“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,” said an executive.