Monday, 22 October 2018

Malls fail to turn shoppers paradise - Essay for UPSC

Malls fail to turn shoppers paradise - Essay for UPSC

Malls fail to turn shoppers paradise
In the swiftly moving era of globalization, modern life can rip along at tremendous speed. With its several demands adding to our worries and stress, we adopt various ways to cope with the life running on fast track. The dawn of liberalization, privatization and globalization lead to the evolution of the mall culture. The emerging mall culture has revolutionized the entire scenario which is resulting in rejuvenation and transformation of cities. The air-conditioned, well-sanitized, standardized shopping malls with their imaginative designs and wide range of outlets are becoming perennially popular. Huge edifices of those magnificent malls and their captivating ambience cast a spell on the drained out soul of common man who is left with a few options to spend his weekend after a weeklong hectic work schedule. 

Congenial ambience, international standard of amenities, layered with exotic variety of cuisines leave enthusiast shoppers fascinated and transfixed. People find everything under one roof with easy access and multiplicity of choice. Plethora of mall attractions keep the shoppers buzzing with their ground activities and rock bottom discounts. The centers of immense economical activities not only serve as battleground for the international brands but also compel people to rebel against their own traditions and values. Increasing number of nuclear families, trend of working women, hectic work schedule and stressful life contribute to the growth of mall culture. Growth in income, changing attitude and demographic pattern too favor the mushrooming of malls.

Shopping malls are the modern adaptation of the historical marketplace. Earlier there were small stores located in every nook and cranny. With a dramatic transformation in lifestyle those small Kirana stores had a major setback. Although the kirana retail sector comprises 93-94% of the total retail pie, they are still under threat of being shut down by the minority of the organized retail sector i.e. shopping malls. With 15 million retail outlets, India has the highest retail industry in the world. Indian retail industry is growing at an alarming high growth rate and doesn't seem to slow down even in the recession. The $350 billion Indian retail industry attracts more global retail chains like Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour. The retail sector is rapidly changing its face.

The frenetic pace of retail development has triggered the mushrooming of malls. The future of organized retailing is largely in the hands of shopping malls where consumers get quality, quantity, recreation facilities and ambience.

Mushrooming of malls has resulted in the noticeable alter in the landscape of the country and lent it an up market flavor, but it also has a flipside. These concrete boxes have entirely taken the country by storm. We have witnessed a rapid economic development in last twenty years in terms of direct foreign investment, development of infrastructure and migration of rural population to urban places. With the advent of hectic retail activities in India, the government has permitted FDI in retail industry which would destroy the local trading community. The existing super market culture has prevented the growth of small time retailers in urban, semi urban and rural areas. It is estimated that about 50-60 lakhs of such smaller retailing units will be hit by the malls. Soon the splendid malls will take over unorganized kirana culture inferior to them.

Shopping malls are one stop destination for shopaholics and community centers of modern era. Home to luxurious and modern amenities, malls provide a wide array of shopping outlets. People find solace in the hurly-burly of mall culture. In previous time, people preferred to visit parks, museums and historical monuments but now-a-days they love to indulge in indoor mall activities. An elite ambience laced with cornucopia of facilities and delivery of world class shopping pleasure excites the adults as well as kids.

In present scenario, people all over the world are spell-bound with the magic of majestic mall culture but its flipside can't be overlooked. The mushrooming of malls has been resulting in crippling of individually owned business and less local control over jobs. Apart from it, malls are culprit of wasting resources like energy, fuel and water. The heavy electricity consumption gives a reason to environmentalists to raise their eyebrows. Most of the malls lack appropriate recycling and disposal systems to dump polystyrene cups, plates and toxic waste. Every weekend a chaos reigns on the roads leading to those giant buildings where malls are located. The whole area goes into frenzy when long queues of traffic snarl wasting fuel and causing air pollution. Sometimes, despite paying huge maintenance cost empty malls with half shop closed, is also a common sight. Increasing space crunch, power scarcity and parking blues show the ugly face of this so called modern life.

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