Patna, India — Patna’s largest mall, the Mall of India, is under fire for its high prices and rampant wastage.
The country’s top consumer watchdog said on Tuesday that malls are ripping off consumers by charging exorbitant prices.
“If we go by the data, if we go based on our surveys, we have a number of reports that have shown that the cost of a consumer product has increased by nearly 40 percent in the past year alone,” Bharat Sangharsh Samiti (BSS), which is monitoring mall prices, said in a statement.
At the peak of the Indian economy in the late 1980s, India was ranked among the most prosperous in the world, with GDP growing by about 8 percent annually.
But since then, consumer spending has plunged, with the country’s economic growth falling to an average of 0.7 percent a year since 2007.
According to a report released in January by consumer goods consultancy IDC, the average annual inflation rate in India was 4.2 percent in 2019.
In 2017, inflation at the retail level in India, which accounts for 90 percent of retail sales, hit 5.3 percent, according to the Consumer Price Index.
As of January 2019, India’s retail sector had lost $8.3 billion in value over the previous 12 months, according the latest report from the International Monetary Fund.
While inflation has been running at close to 5 percent for years, it has surged to 9.7% in 2017, according TOI.
Bharat Sanharsh Samitis report on Mall of Patna said that “there is no way that retail prices should be rising by such a huge margin in such a short time frame.”
The report said the mall is not following proper procedures for calculating the retail prices.
“It is unclear why the mall has to charge exorbitantly high prices for such items, and why the malls cannot offer these items at cheaper prices,” the report said.
It also said that the mall’s staffs and managers are “not being paid the proper wages” and that there is no transparency about how the prices are being calculated.
The report also pointed out that many of the items that are sold in the mall are not made in India and are imported.
It said that, for example, a piece of clothing that is sold in a mall in the United States would be made in Bangladesh.