New Delhi: India is moving quickly on a plan to open its USD 450 billion retail sector to global players such as Wal-Mart, despite concerns about job losses among millions of small neighbourhood stores, the industry secretary said on Wednesday.
Turning to wider economic issues, R P Singh also told Reuters that industrial growth would be weak in August, as businesses held back investments because of high inflation and interest rates.
Rising prices help the case for foreign money in supermarkets, which supporters say will help ramp up investment in logistics such as cold storage and unclog supply bottlenecks.
"Please don't ask me for a timeline, but we are proceeding very fast," Singh said in an interview, when asked about the progress made in opening up the multi-brand retail sector.
India has for years mulled allowing foreign retailers such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour SA, Tesco Plc and Metro AG to invest directly in multi-brand stores, but the policy has been held up by political resistance.