"We urge the government not to open up the retail trade to FDI any further. Political parties across the spectrum are opposed to this move. Many state governments have also stated their opposition," said the letter sent by these parties to the Prime Minister.
"In the absence of a wide-ranging consensus, we request you not to proceed with this decision," it said. The letter was signed by Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Prakash Karat (CPI-M), S Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), Danish Ali (JD-S), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Block) and Abani Roy (RSP).
The government had allowed FDI in single brand retailing but had suspended the decision to allow such investment in multi-brand retailing due to opposition from several parties including UPA allies.
Among the signatories of this letter, SP and JD(S) support the government from outside. The joint letter said that reports were appearing that the Government of India was going to revive the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail trade.
The letter argued that the retail sector was the second largest employer in the country after agriculture, employing over four crore persons.
"Most of these are small unorganised or self-employed retailers. Entry of MNC supermarket and hypermarket chains would cause severe displacement of these small and unorganised shopkeepers and traders. The entry of the giant Wal-Mart supermarket chain would have a disastrous impact," the letter said.
The parties also said that the employment growth had slowed down according to the National Sample Survey data of 2009-10 and the entry of foreign supermarkets would further aggravate the employment situation.