Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said he will soon write to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seeking his support on the politically sensitive issue of allowing foreign investment in multi-brand retail.
Sharma said that seven Chief Minsters including Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Assam, Rajasthan and Kerala have already given their written commitment on allowing FDI in the sector.
“I have written to three Chief Ministers of non-Congress states of Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. I will be writing to the Bihar Chief Minister soon (on allowing 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail sector),” Sharma said.
Kerala government, according to sources, is of the view that those states which are willing should be allowed to open multi-brand retail stores in their respective states.
Following strong protests from several state governments and UPA’s key ally Trinamool Congress, the government has suspended the implementation of the decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand sector.
Amid criticism of government’s policy inaction by global rating agencies and some key industry leaders, the government has renewed efforts to forge a consensus on the politically sensitive issue.
In his letter to the three states, Sharma has said that opening of the $550 billion sector would bring employment opportunities for rural youth and make them stakeholders in the entire agri-business chain. On concerns over the impact of big retailers on small retailers, he has said that several studies have revealed that local stores have found innovative ways to co-exist along with organised retail.