New Delhi: Centre is reaching out to the non-UPA states to seek support for allowing 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail, as it could not implement the Cabinet decision in the face of strong opposition from UPA ally Trinamool Congress.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has written to Chief Ministers of Odisha, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, stating opening the multi-brand sector to the foreign direct investment (FDI) would "bring in investments, technologies and efficiencies to unlock the true potential of the agricultural value chain".

Sharma asked chief ministers - Naveen Patnaik, Prakash Singh Badal and Akhilesh Yadav - to recognise the intrinsic merit of the reforms policy and support foreign investment in the sector.

In the backdrop of criticism of policy inaction by global rating agencies and some key industry leaders, the government has renewed its efforts to forge a consensus on the politically sensitive issue.

While the Cabinet had decided in November, 2011 to permit 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail, the government was forced by Trinamool Congress to put implementation on hold.

Sharma, who recently met in Russia, chiefs of global retail giants like Metro AG and IKEA, said in his letters to the chief ministers that opening of the USD 550 billion sector would bring in employment opportunities for rural youth and make them stakeholders in the entire agri business chain.

On concerns over the impact of big retailers on small retailers, he said that several studies have revealed that local stores have found innovative ways to co-exist along with organised retail.


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