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  • Govt will not allow FDI in multi-brand retail: Nirmala

    Published on September 8, 2014

    The NDA government will not allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, Nirmala Sitharaman new1Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

    “We are clear that FDI will not be allowed in multi-brand retail trade. We shall not entertain FDI in MBRT. There is no ambiguity. There is no confusion on this,” she said while addressing a press conference to mark 100 days of the new government in New Delhi on Monday.

    Sitharaman said her party, BJP, has clearly articulated its position on the MBRT and had won the elections on the basis of the manifesto.

    The UPA government had opened the multi-brand retail sector for foreign investment and allowed up to 51 percent FDI in the sector. The BJP had opposed the policy.

    The politically sensitive multi-brand retail segment in India employees millions and is dominated by mom-and-pop stores.

    While the new government is against FDI in the sector, it has not yet initiated any move to scrap the policy of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail approved by the UPA government.

    During the UPA regime, only one investment proposal of UK based Tesco was cleared for the sector.

    Sitharaman said that FDI in multi-brand retail trading (MBRT) would not be allowed in any form, not even through the e-commerce route.

    She added: “There was an impression what have not been achieved in MBRT, will be done through backdoor in e-commerce. What is applicable at the moment in MBRT is applicable also for e-commerce.

    “Our position was very firmly articulated and mentioned in the (election) manifesto. We got vote on it. We won on it and we are firm on it. We shall not entertain FDI in MBRT…there is no need to issue an order (to scrap the policy).”

    FDI in e-commerce is only permitted for business-to- business activities but prohibited for business-to-consumer.

    Several big global online retailers such as Amazon are demanding liberalisation of FDI in e-commerce.

    When asked about special package for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, she said that serious discussions are under progress but decision is yet to be taken.

    “Quite a lot of discussions are happening… Chief Ministers have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi…very serious discussions are in the progress but I cannot give you any specifics,” Sitharaman said.

    Talking about industrial corridor, she said study has been completed for Vizag-Chennai corridor and work is in full swing on other corridors including Amritsar-Kolkata.

    The government has also approved 17 National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs). These zones will be world- class integrated industrial townships.