New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday made it clear that the government will not take an "off the cuff" decision on the complex issue of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. He said this in Lok Sabha responding to a calling attention motion in the matter.

Mukherjee added, “The issue is complex and the states will also have to be involved to arrive at a larger consensus before taking a decision.”

Noting that out of 109 respondents representing various interests, 73 had expressed their opposition before an official committee to the entry of FDI in multi-brand retail.

Those who opposed included farmers and small traders, he said.

He said an UNCTAD report had suggested that job losses in the informal sector far outweighed the benefits of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.
"The Government has not taken any decision in this regard," the Finance Minister said in a statement in response to the calling attention by Nishikant Dubey (BJP) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI).

The Minister said an inter-Ministerial Committee was constituted to examine the comments received on the Discussion Paper. The Committee was headed by the Senior Economic Advisor, Department of Consumer Affairs.

The Committee has since submitted its report to the Government. The Committee's report has not made any recommendation relating to FDI in Multi Brand Retail Trading.

It has analysed the responses received to the Discussion Paper, collated and summarised them, he said.

Dasgupta and Dubey strongly opposed FDI in multi-brand retail, saying the move would be a disaster for eight crore traders in the country.

(Agencies)