ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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STEEL- Growing Disarray

October 9, 1976 needs of affluent urban dwellers. This is borne out by the location of the much advertised super bazars and co- operative stores in the capital and elsewhere. As part of the efforts to enlarge the public distribution system, it is now proposed to use idle industrial capacity through arrangements with the co-operatives for production of a variety of what are claimed to be mass consumption goods and their distribution at concessional prices. The items in view include bulbs, thermos flasks and hot cases, besides soap and toothpaste. How far these items constitute priority items of mass consumption is open to question. Besides, the proposal to set up production units for retail marketing by the co-operatives is still at an academic stage. The con- ference of consumer co-operatives last month could think only of taking up production of polythene bags as a starting point, evidently because the retail stores now run by co-operatives have adopted the sophisticated method of selling groceries and other things in these bags, unlike the ordinary private retailer in rural and urban areas. The idea has also been canvassed that 'contract production' could be promoted by arrangements with manufacturers having surplus capacity for the production of certain goods. Hut the co- npeiatives are not yet quite sure that items thus manufactured would be able to stand competition from powerful brand names, considering the clientele they serve.

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