FDI in retail: Sharma says pause cannot be too long

London, Jan 29: Asserting that FDI in retail will happen, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the "pause" in implementation of the government's decision cannot be "too long".

"The Cabinet took a considered view on retail FDI. We are not going to roll back the decision (on FDI in multi-brand retail). It is a just a pause. "It will happen and the pause cannot be too long," he said at a panel discussion on 'How Immune is India?' at the annual World Economic Forum meeting here.

He was replying to a query if the ongoing elections to five State Assemblies was delaying implementation of the government's decision to open FDI in retail. Following widespread opposition, including from its own allies, the government suspended its decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail on November 24.

While the decision on FDI in the multi-brand sector has been suspended, the government has gone ahead with increasing foreign investment level in single brand retail to 100 per cent from the earlier 51 per cent.

Despite a setback on the politically-sensitive issue, the Congress-led UPA government has renewed its efforts to forge a consensus on opening the doors to global retailers in multi-brand retail, estimated to be a about USD 550 billion market.


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