Inconvenience Stores

In the wealth of nations, Adam Smith wrote that the U.K. was "a nation of shopkeepers." Today, that comment aptly describes a former British colony: India. It's home to about 12 million mom-and-pop retailers. But India's shopkeepers, or at least those in New Delhi, are under siege. In a series of rulings this year, the Supreme Court has ordered some 44,000 stores, restaurants and small hotels around the capital to be shuttered or demolished because they break zoning regulations.

Commercial activity in most of New Delhi's residential areas is forbidden, but the restrictions have been ignored for...

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