New Delhi: Hitting out at "obstructionist" opposition, government Thursday ruled out roll-back of its decision to allow FDI in retail, but the nodal Industry Ministry admitted that states were not formally consulted.
"This is obstructionist opportunist opposition and what can you expect?...They cannot dictate government on the executive policy decision...Roll back? Who are you?," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma asked apparently attacking the BJP.
Briefing reporters, Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) P K Chaudhery also stated clearly there was no question of the policy reversal.
Asked if government will seek comments before formulating the rules on the policy, he said there was no such move.
"If my answer to you was yes, that means I am conceding that we will revisit the policy. No," he said adding there was no question of putting the notification on hold either.
"Guidelines on FDI in multi-brand retail are not to be put on hold. It is work in progress," Chaudhery said without indicating any timeline.
The DIPP Secretary agreed that no formal communication was sent to the states while the department was in the process of formulating the policy.
"No, we had put it (discussion paper) on the website. It is a FDI policy, it is not changing law where there has to be a formal consultation. It is not impinging upon the states' rights, it is a sphere of the national government," he said.
The government has been criticised by the opposition and some Chief Ministers including from Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh that the states were not consulted on the issue.
Chaudhery said that states were consulted when the issue was debated by the Standing Committee of Parliament attached to the Commerce Ministry.
Chaudhery said that the guidelines governing the policy will address the issues raised in the Cabinet, when it approved on November 24, 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail and removed cap in single-brand retail.
"The rules will be framed which answer the issues raised and decisions taken in the Cabinet," he said.
Chaudhery said that it is expected from the states that they will amend the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act so that the benefits of the global chains directly procuring from the fields can reach the farmers.
The government's decision to permit FDI in multi-brand retail has created political turmoil, disrupting functioning of Parliament and leading to traders' protests.
First Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011, 14:50