FDI in multibrand retail under “foreign pressure”: BJP
A ttacking the government for its “hurried” decision allowing FDI in multi-brand retail, BJP today alleged said that despite strong objections from the Opposition it has been done under foreign elements’ pressure and will affect the livelihood of Indians in retail trade.
“BJP strongly condemns this hurried decision forcing FDI in multi-brand retail in India. Inspite of serious opposition
from within Congress, its allies and nearly the entire Opposition led by BJP, the government has seriously jeopardised the life, livelihood and employment of five crore people involved in retail trade in the country,” BJP Chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
disastrous for the country,” Prasad said.
TMC gives 72-hour deadline to UPA government
F urious over the Centre allowing 51 per cent FDI in multibrand retail after the diesel price hike and uncapping of subsidy on LPG cylinders, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee today threatened to take ‘hard decisions’ if there was no reconsideration of the decisions.
“We cannot support price hike of diesel and reduction in subsidized LPG cylinders. Today, a decision has been taken allowing FDI in retail sector. It is a big jolt. We are really sorry. We cannot support anything that is against the interest of the poor and common people. Loot cholchhe loot (Loot is going on).
“Sometimes, speech is silver and silence is golden. We are not party to it. We are not supporting these anti-people decisions. We are very much serious about these developments and ready to take hard decisions if these issues are not reconsidered”, she said.
The Trinamool Congress earlier gave a 72-hour deadline to the UPA government for roll back of FDI in multibrand retail and diesel price hike and convened an emergent meeting of the party’s parliamentary party on September 18.
“We are giving a 72-hour deadline to roll back the decisions. We will discuss and take a tough stand at the TMC parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday if the government does not listen to us,” TMC General Secretary and Railway minister Mukul Roy told PTI.
He said that Trinamool Congress was strongly opposed to allowing FDI in key sectors like retail, insurance and aviation as it would be harmful for the people of the country.
“We are not in favour of FDI in retail. We are not in favour of FDI in aviation also. We are always in favour of the common people,” he said. “We will stick to what we raised in our election manifesto,” he said.
Kerala not to implement 51% FDI in multi-brand retail: Chandy
C ongress-ruled Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said the Centre’s decision to allow 51 per cent foreign investment in multi-brand retail business would not be implemented in the state.
“Kerala government has already informed its position to the central leadership. We are not in favour of that. We will not implement it in Kerala,” Chandy said.
“The central government has given freedom to each state on whether it is to be implemented or not. So, at any cost, we will not proceed with this,” the Chief Minister said.
Announcing some major economic reforms, the Centre announced operationalisation of 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, despite opposition from certain states, including those ruled by the Congress and its allies including Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress.
The decisions, which have prompted angry reactions from its key ally TMC, as well as BJP and Left parties, came a day after the government yesterday announced a hike in diesel prices and capping supply of subsidised LPG cylinders to cut oil subsidises.
“Let us not confuse consensus with unanimity. For unanimity we will have to wait in eternity. This (today’s decision) has consensus,” Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told reporters in the national capital, while conveying the message that the Centre has decided to go ahead with the reforms notwithstanding opposition.
Hooda lauds PM’s ‘bold’ step on FDI in retail
H aryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today lauded the decision to liberalise Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail trade calling it a “bold” initiative by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
This would benefit all stakeholders, specially the farmers and the consumers and would attract investment in Haryana, which accounts for 44 per cent of the NCR area and offers a huge market, he said.
“The opening up of retail trade would also boost investors’ confidence in the Indian economy and would give necessary impetus to economic growth of the country,” he said.
“The farmers would greatly benefit from direct purchase of the produce by retail chains at better prices,” Hooda said.
The state government has already introduced enabling provision in the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act to facilitate introduction of supply chain and to develop network of agri-produce collection centres close to the farms where
necessary infrastructure can now be developed in PPP mode enabling direct purchase by private sector.
Appreciating the safeguards that have been kept in the FDI policy to protect the interest of small retailers, Hooda said liberalisation would benefit the consumers and the purchasers against seasonal fluctuations and aberration in prices of agricultural products, specially vegetables and fruits with the development of supply chain infrastructure.
The investment in back-end infrastructure would not only give remunerative prices to farmers, but benefit rural economy and generate large employment for rural population, he said.
The Chief Minister said investment in organised retail trade by foreign investors would also bring in the latest technology in establishment of cold chains, preventing wastage of food due to lack of post-harvest infrastructure.
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Image: Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
SP opposes FDI in retail
S amajwadi Party, an outside supporter of the UPA, today opposed the Centre’s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.
“SP feels that allowing FDI in retail would affect Indian market and agriculture. The move would hit Indian economy as retailers and farmers would be ruined by it,” SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said.
He said the decision was not in the interest of country and warned that the party would organise protests.
UK-India business body hails FDI move
Prasun Sonwalkar in London
Noting that several conditions had been built into the reforms to ensure that Indian consumers benefitted from foreign investment, the UKIBC, however, said investors will be restricted to states that wanted to implement the reforms, such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Uttarakhand.
Besides, foreign investors would be required to invest in cities with populations of at least one million, of which India currently has 53, it said a statement.
UKIBC said: “Although these conditions will require careful considerations by investors, the immediate response from UK and Indian business leaders is that the requirements are not likely to be ‘deal-breakers’.”
The UKIBC said it also welcomed the new flexibility in the requirement that 100 per cent foreign-owned single brands must source 30 per cent of their products from Indian SMEs.
International firms seeking a wavier on this sourcing provision now have the option of establishing their own factories in India.
Richard Heald, Chief Executive of UKIBC said: “This creates significant opportunities for the UK retailing sector to make great strides into India.
“India is hungry for investment, mainly in terms of capital and expertise above and beyond what the Indian Government and private sector can provide.”
He added: “India suffers from a chronically fragmented supply chain, to such an extent that some 30-40 per cent of food rots before it even reaches the stores.
“Allowing the Walmart’s, Tesco’s, Carrefour’s of the world into India will stimulate the retail market to reduce wastage, improve productivity and lessen price spikes.”
Patricia Hewitt, Chairperson of UKIBC said: “We warmly welcome this decision, which is the second major liberalisation of the retail market in less than twelve months.
Greater FDI in multi-brand retail will accelerate improvements in India’s supply chain – that will be good for India’s consumers, good for India’s farmers and good for UK-India trade and investment, she said.
Paresh Parekh, Partner, Tax & Regulatory, at UKIBC Member Ernst & Young India said: “A big welcome and one of boldest steps. I hope this will be reflective of new era of reforms and re-instill investor confidence in India.”
Global retailers will now definitely get back to their drawing boards to explore India plans, he said, adding that Indian retailers looking for expansion and fund raising will look forward to studying the fine print.
UKIBC is a business-led organisation promoting bilateral trade and investment between the two countries, whose mission is described as facilitating an increase in trade between the UK and India through business to business dialogue.
Image: Man passes a branch of the Tesco supermarket in central London.
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
FDI in retail would hit domestic industry, jobs: Modi
L ashing out at government’s decision allowing FDI in retail, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said it will affect the domestic manufacturing and lead to massive job losses.
“I don’t know what the Prime Minister is doing. Smalltime shopkeepers will have to close down due to this decision,” Modi said, reacting to the decision on FDI, during his campaign tour through the area.
“Cheap goods produced elsewhere will be dumped in India and it will affect the manufacturing sector of the country as manufacturers of small items will find it difficult to survive,” Modi said.
“This will lead to massive job losses for the youth,” he said.
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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
FDI in retail: TN govt not to implement, says Jaya S lamming the UPA-led government at the Centre for taking the ‘unfortunate decision’ of allowing 51 per cent FDI in multibrand retail, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday said her government would never implement it in the state.
“I understand that the states will be allowed to decide whether they want to opt for it or not. I think there is going to be a lot of confusion as well as administrative problems in dealing with this issue, which will only fuel uncertainty, thereby crippling the growth of our economy further,”she said.
Jayalalithaa said she therefore would like to register her ‘unequivocal opposition’ to the Centre’s decision and demanded that it be withdrawn immediately. “Further, my government will never allow FDI in retail trade in Tamil Nadu,” she said in an official statement.
She described as ‘shocking’ the Centre’s decision okaying the proposal both in multi-brand retailing and aviation, saying the concerns of state governments and other stakeholders had been ignored, “which shows the utter disregard for the sensitivity of the issue and panic in the UPA Government.”
“This decision is totally undemocratic and against public interest. The UPA Government has been making blunder after blunder by adopting many anti-people policies and this latest decision will only add up to one more such serious blunder committed by the Central Government, which seems to be totally unmindful of the interests of the common people,” she said.
Holding that the announcement came a day after government gave a ‘rude shock’ to people by increasing diesel prices, she said it had dealt yet “another blow to the common man.
The announcement would only increase woes of the people and local traders, she said while recalling her earlier opposition. “This is an ill-advised move and I reiterate my opposition to this unfortunate and untimely decision,” she said.
Jayalalithaa said the UPA government was always in the habit of diverting people’s attention from the main issues by confusing them with such policies. “As I have earlier stated, FDI in retail is neither going to bring down the prices nor will it improve the investment climate.”
Image: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
Allowing FDI in retail suicidal: Nitish Kumar
B ihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today hit out at the Centre for allowing 51% FDI in multi-brand retail and described the step as ‘suicidal’.
“The UPA government has allowed 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail inspite of strong objection raised by the state government earlier. It is a suicidal decision,” Kumar told reporters.
The chief minister said it appeared that UPA government’s time was up. “Yah atmaghati nirnay hai aisa lagata hai ki UPA sarkar ka chala chalanti ka bela aa gaya gai.”
He said that the economy had derailed during the UPA regime and the people were wilting under spiralling price rise and inflation with the government lacking will power to deal with the situation.
Kumar said the diesel price hike would have a cascading effect on the overall economy.
“The diesel price hike will affect transportation cost and input cost of consumer goods due to hike in transportation charge by transporters, he said.
Image: Nitish Kumar.
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