The Indian government will not revisit its decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail and a political consensus is being built on the issue, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said.
“We are very clear that there is no revisiting on multi-brand retail. Government is trying to build a wider political consensus after which notification will be issued,” Sharma told Britain’s Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne.
Osborne asked the Indian government to be ambitious in retail liberalisation. Sharma and Osborne also jointly addressed CEOs from the two countries where the UK Chancellor of Exchequer appreciated India’s contribution to the British economy.
He said UK would continue to provide an open investment climate. Sharma said yesterday, “It will be our political decision when to notify it (foreign direct investment in retail).We can’t wait for unanimity, or we will (have to) wait forever. It will be a political call”. He said most state chief ministers support FDI in retail.
There are particular reservations of the Left parties, who continue to have “ideological blinkers”. The principal opposition (BJP) also has a “partisan agenda, it changes sides when it suits them” he added.
The decision to allow 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail was announced in November last year. But its
implementation was put on hold after strong protests from various parties including key UPA-ally Trinamool Congress.
The government has now been making renewed efforts to forge a consensus on the politically contentious issue. Recently, the UPA supporting Samajwadi Party also opposed the decision.