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FICCI warns Indian industries against FDI in retail

Written by: Staff
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Vadodara, Apr 3 (UNI) The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) today warned the industries against the government's move to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail sector.

''Whether you like it or not, FDI in retail is going to pose a challenge to our manufacturing industry and we must be ready to face the challenge,'' Federation president Saroj Kumar Poddar cautioned entrepreneurs while addressing a function organised by the Federation of Gujarat Industries (FGI) here today.

Stating that the government had invited FICCI, CII and other apex chambers to discuss the issue, Mr Poddar said as a free trade agreement with China was in the horizon, Indian industries must have a level playing field and be ready to raise the manufacturing output to 12 per cent in order to effectively take up the challenge.

Later, talking to newspersons, Mr Poddar and FICCI secretary general Dr Amit Mitra said the Federation was however of the opinion that FDI be allowed in agro-related sector in the interest of the Indian farmers and agricultural growth.

The FICCI leaders said the Federation had suggested the government to bring in a Contract Labour Policy which would not only benefit the labours but also the nation. Opposing the hire and fire labour policy in the country, they said unless we have a flexible labour policy, as existing in South East countries, India was bound to lose its export market in China and South East countries. The government seemed to be examining the proposal, they added.

Expressing satisfaction over the GDP growth and stock market boom, Mr Poddar and Mr Mitra said India's economy would continue to do well in coming years and hopefully it would be the third largest economy in the world after US and China by 2025 AD. However, India need to give more focus on five major factors -- quality, cost, productivity, technology and human capital, to be the ultimate winner.

Regarding the Indian government's move to get most favoured national status from arch-rival Pakistan, the FICCI leaders said the issue which had been taken up at all levels, was reportedly under serious consideration of the Pakistan government.

Currently, Mr Poddar said, the unofficial trade with Pakistan was estimated at USD 3 billion, while the official figure was only USD 650 million. ''We hope the trade with Pakistan would go up to USD 10 billion by 2010, if the neighbouring country grants most favoured nation status to India which want an open trade between the two,'' he said adding that India's trade with China had increased from just USD one billion to USD 15 billion in the last few years because of improved trade relations.

On the non-implementation of VAT in two non-Congress ruled states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the FICCI leaders hoped that the states which were opposing VAT due to their political compulsions, would follow suit soon as it was most suited for business.

UNI SS MAZ AG1953

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