New Delhi: Amid logjam in Parliament over FDI in multi-brand retail, the government Monday said it held consultations with "stakeholders" including traders' associations on the issue and the decision to implement the policy is left to the states.
"Consultations were held in this regard with stakeholders including traders' associations, consumers' organisations, farmers' associations, small and medium enterprises' associations and food processing industry representatives," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
Besides, the government has decided to constitute a high level group to make recommendations on internal trade reforms to ensure distributional efficiencies.
Ever since beginning of the winter session on November 22, the Opposition has forced stalling of Parliament charging the government with reneging on its assurance of building a broad national consensus before implementing the controversial decision.
Some of the key UPA allies including DMK have also expressed reservations on FDI in retail. Several states, including the Congress-ruled Kerala have also opposed the decision.
Sharma said the 2011 Cabinet decision to open multi-brand retail was put on hold "for evolving a broader consensus among key stakeholders".
BJP has given a notice to Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari a breach of privilege notice alleging the government had not kept the promise of building national consensus on the issue.
In today's reply, Sharma said that the consultations brought out views both for and against FDI in multi-brand retail trading.
"On balance, however, the discussions generally indicated support for the policy, subject to introduction of adequate safeguards. The necessary safeguards have, accordingly, been incorporated in the policy and are expected to protect the interests of various stakeholders including Small traders," he said.
The decision has been notified but it has been left to the states to implement it.