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Montek pitches for FDI in online retail

Last Updated: Friday, March 8, 2013 - 20:51

New Delhi: Pitching for FDI in online retail, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Friday said he will take up the issue with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.

"I have expressed my view that if we have FDI in conventional retail, the same principle should apply in online retail. Many people have brought this to my attention. I propose to raise this with Anand Sharma," he told reporters on the sidelines of Ficci meet here.

Ahluwalia further said that there was not much pressure from foreign online retailers because one "can order from Amazon.Com" or other foreign companies while sitting in India.

"But in the Indian firms which are doing online retail, if you can't have foreign direct investment in order to expand your operations, it is not really sensible," he said, adding: "We need to look at many of those areas, lot more carefully than we are doing."

India allows 100 percent FDI in single brand retail as well as wholesale trading. It also allows 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail segment. While FDI is not allowed in online retailing, 100 foreign investment is permitted in business to business (B2B) e-commerce.

On RBI's monetary policy review later this month, Ahluwalia said inflation has come down and there was need to boost economic growth.

"...There is no doubt in my view that compared to the situation four months ago we are in a much better position than we were earlier. Inflation is down. We need to stimulate growth. We are doing what we can do and I think every government action should be supported," he said.

RBI is slated to announce its mid-quarter policy review on March 19. It had maintained tight monetary policy stance in view of high inflation and wanted government to take credible steps to reduce fiscal deficit before reducing interest rate.

When asked to comment on Moody's report on growth, Ahluwalia said: "I really don't know what they mean. We have not by the way argued in the short run that double digit GDP growth is feasible".

Moody's had yesterday cautioned the government against targeting double-digit GDP expansion saying any growth beyond 7 percent without reforms will fuel inflation.

Ahluwalia said the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) has projected that the best that is possible is 8 per cent in the next five years which would reach above 9 percent in the last two years.

When asked about threat of rating downgrade by global agencies, he said the government has taken very sound and good steps on fiscal front since last September.

Replying to a query related to Budget, he said effort is to generate more revenue through better tax administration without changing tax rates.

"(By) administering the system better, we should be able to get better revenue," he added.


First Published: Friday, March 8, 2013 - 20:49
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