Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya on Monday opposed FDI in multi-brand retail, saying the move will adversely impact at least 30 crore people associated indirectly with retail trade in the country.

"According to an official figure, at present there are five crore retail traders in the country with nearly 30 crore persons associated with the sector indirectly. These people will be directly affected with this decision of permitting 51 percent FDI in retail," he said.

Some in the Congress and its allies in UPA are also opposed to allowing 51 per cent foreign investment in retail, Vijaywargiya said and cited the statement of Kerala's Congress Chief Minister Oomen Chandy, who has said he will not implement the decision in his state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a key constituent of the Congress-led UPA, has asked the Centre to roll-back the decision on FDI, he said.

Vijaywargiya said the decision was taken as part of a conspiracy to divert people's attention from the coal block allocation scam. Money has played a major role in this controversial move, the Minister said, without elaborating.

The size of retail trade in India is at present pegged at 400 billion dollars and this is set to double in the next few years. Therefore, MNCs are eyeing this sector, he said.

When BJP-led NDA was in power, India's coffers were full of foreign exchange, but during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tenure USD 125 billion has gone out of the country which is a major blow to the economy, Vijayvargiya said.

"Now, the Government is dreaming of bringing back the foreign exchange through FDI which is not possible," the Minister said.

Vijaywargiya said the policy-makers should know that retail trading in India is done from small outlets, some of them operating out of homes.

Some of the traders sell goods in very small quantities and costing as low as Rs 1.50. A large number of people buy these goods to meet their daily needs, he said.

These large number of people would not be able to visit malls or mega stores for purchasing small items for their day-to-day use, the Minister added.


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