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News updated at 12:52 AM IST

Centre claims support of BJP-ruled states

New Delhi, Dec 5, 2012, DHNS: 1:54 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. PTI
Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday defended the UPA’s decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, saying he had support even from BJP-ruled states and only seven of 28 states were opposed to the proposal.

“Out of 21 states which responded to the Centre’s communication on the issue, 11 supported in writing the move to open multi-brand retail. Only seven states opposed the proposal, while few sought clarifications,” he said replying to the debate on FDI in multi-brand retail in the Lok Sabha.

Sharma said, the prominent BJP states, which supported the foreign capital in multi-brand included Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. Akali Dal-BJP ruled Punjab also supported the
government’s FDI proposal.

Not only that, the government also had the support of majority of farmers’ organisations, consumer forums and fruit and vegetable associations, he said.

Allaying Opposition fear that the FDI will wash away the small mom and pop stores, the commerce minister said every proposal would be scrutinised by the foreign investment promotion board under the framework.

He said a minimum investment of $100 million will be allowed out of which 50 per cent will go in back-end. “There is also a provision of 30 per cent of all sourcing being done from small business,” Sharma said.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who initiated the debate in the Lok Sabha, had said the government’s claim that foreign investment would benefit farmers, consumers and generate employment was a myth.

Quoting from studies on FDI in retail, Sharma said even in developing economies like China, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand and Singapore where FDI is permitted up to 100 per cent, local retailers have found “innovative ways to co-exist” along with organised retail.

Attacking the Opposition further, Sharma also said, the government did have official documents of year 2000, when the then secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, N K Singh had prepared a Cabinet Note for approval of 100 per cent FDI through automatic route in multi-brand retail in defence, air force and pharma industry.

Ultimately, he said the decision to bring in FDI would rest with states.

Foreign firms will loot farmers: Gowda


Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda on Wednesday warned the Centre that foreign companies coming to invest in India would gradually take away farmers’ land, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

Participating in the debate on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector in the Lok Sabha, Gowda said that before encouraging the foreign companies, the government should take note that so many private companies had grabbed a large chunk of farmers’land in the name of development.

Citing Bangalore-Mysore Expressway built by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (Nice), Gowda said the project had been “virtually looting farmers” in the name of developing world class road between two cities.

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