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No state will be forced to implement FDI in retail: Commerce Minister

Last Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 19:10

Mumbai: Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma Thursday said no state will be forced to implement FDI in multi-brand retail, even as the key ruling front ally Mamata Banerjee opposed opening of the sector.

"No state will be forced to implement FDI in multi-brand retail," Sharma told reporters after inaugurating the India International Jewellery Expo here.

Though some states are not in its favour, they too will gradually see the benefit of it, he said adding opening up of the sector would help farmers, consumers as well as small entrepreneurs as integrated infrastructure will benefit the rural economy.

He said as many as 10 states have endorsed the Centre's decision to allow foreign investment in the sector.

"The chief ministers of top 10 states have already extended their support to Centre's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, stating the move will improve availability of quality goods and enhance competitiveness," Sharma said.

Earlier in the day, the key UPA ally Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee strongly opposed FDI in key sectors like retail, insurance and aviation arguing it would be harmful for the people of the country.

"We are not in favour of FDI in retail and all this (insurance)... And pension sectors. We are not in favour of FDI in aviation also. Always we are in favour of common people," Banerjee said.

The government has not been able to go ahead with the implementation of FDI in multi-brand retail even after securing the Cabinet approval.

On SEZs, Sharma said the government would shortly come out with the fresh special economic zones guidelines.

"The department of Commerce, Commerce Secretary, the DGFT and other senior officials are presently engaged in dialogue with the Finance Ministry over some revenue and taxation related issues. The new SEZ guidelines will be notified shortly," Sharma said.

Sharma said he has already written to the Finance Minister for reconsideration of withdrawal of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) and the Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT).

SEZ developers were raising concerns over imposition of these levies and many players have surrendered their units as a result.

The minister said the government is working closely with the industry leaders to formulate a slew of measures to give a fillip to SEZ exports.

During 2011-12, exports from these zones had increased by just 15 percent to Rs 3.65 lakh crore, the lowest growth in the last five years.

Further, he said the government is encouraging global partnerships and collaborative ventures for adopting a diversified approach in the jewellery sector.

"A collaboration with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre has also been sought to strengthen skills in diamond and gem stones grading, certification, R&D, cutting and polishing and setting up state-of-the-art training centres in India," he said.

The minister was speaking at the 29th edition of the India International Jewellery Show which has attracted over 800 exhibitors with 1,800 stalls.

More than 30,000 business associates are expected to visit the five-day event, which started from today. The organisers expect business upwards of Rs 5,000 crore at the exhibition, an official statement said.


First Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 19:07
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