FDI should not be hindered for narrow political gains: FM

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Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Dec 2: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday (today) said that farmers and consumers will be in loss if foreign equity in retail trade is blocked for narrow political gains. He further said that the government urged the opposition to debate the issue in parliament rather than confronting. FDI in retail has become the bone of contention not only with the opposition but also with allies of the government.

Addressing to a gathering in the capital, the Finance Minister said that global experience showed how organised retail, with integrated supply chains, cuts post-harvest wastage and gets remunerative returns to farmers and competitive prices to the consumer.

Supporting the foreign equity in retail trade, he said that such policies were needed for an emerging economy like India to ensure improvement in efficiencies to vigorously pursue and sustain high growth that can also be equitable across states and between urban and rural areas. The cabinet decision on the new policy on FDI in retail, which will allow 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail segment, allows world's top retail giants like Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco to set up their market in the country.

"But in the absence of timely action or no action at all, it is the farmer and consumer who will suffer, as the nation would miss out on an opportunity." said the Finance Minister.

In a relief to the government, DMK has pledged that it will not vote against the government. Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee's TMC is yet to make up its mind.

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