Sharma to reveal states which supported FDI in retail


New Delhi: Commerce Minister Anand Sharma Saturday said he would disclose in parliament the states which supported the decision to allow foreign capital in the multi-brand retail sector.

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“Let parliament start, we will set the record straight. BJP has made a 360 (sic) degree turn on this particular issue,” Sharma told reporters here.

“There are letters with the ministry of consumer affairs. There are letters with the standing committee of parliament. Parliament will get to know whatever documents we have. We will place it before the MPs,” he said.

Sharma’s statement came hours before the revelation made by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Banerjee claimed that the central government had decided to put on hold its decision to allow foreign equity in retail till a political consensus emerged.

“He (Pranab Mukherjee) has told me that the decision will not be implemented unless there was a consensus on the issue,” she told media persons at the state secretariat, Writers’ Building, in Kolkata.

Sharma also said several farmers associations had supported the government’s decision to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector, saying this will remove the middlemen and increase farm incomes, as multi-brand retailers will source the produces directly.

“As far as FDI is concerned, farmers have welcomed it and they want the government to stand firm because they feel that it is in their interest,” Sharma said after meeting a delegation of farmers here.

“There will be investments which will lead to creation of infrastructure, warehousing, cold storage and generate employment and they (farmers) will get a good price of their produce.”

The commerce minister said the decision was taken after consultations with various stake holders including farmers associations, industry chambers, consumer forums, academics, traders associations, international investors and states.

“We have done it after consultations, trying to generate an understanding and a consensus. There are some states which do not want it. We respect their rights but the states which do not want it cannot deprive those states which want it.”