Guwahati: Extending his support to the
decision of the Congress-led UPA government to allow FDI in
multi-brand retail, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday
termed it a "step in the right direction."
"I whole-heartedly support the government`s decision
on FDI...It should have been taken much earlier", Gogoi told
Underscoring that of the total investment, 50 per cent
has been made mandatory in rural infrastructure alone, he said
"this will go a long way in bringing about a sea change in
"The decision will boost agriculture and allied
sectors, manufacturing, logistics, integrated cold chains,
refrigerated transportation and food processing facilities in
a big way," Gogoi said.
Stating that 30 per cent of the produce will have to
be sourced from small and micro industries, Gogoi said "this
will give a big fillip to domestic manufacturing and value
"In no way will small retailers be affected. On the
other hand they will grow and flourish," he claimed.
Criticising the BJP-led NDA, Gogoi said, "the same
party which had dubbed opening up FDI in retail as good for
the country is now singing a different tune."
"This exposes their double standards, the desperation
to discredit the UPA government for political mileage," he
The chief minister also accused the BJP "and its
allies" of working against the progress and prosperity of the
country. "They are hell-bent on fomenting disturbances to
vitiate the atmosphere to oust the UPA government," he added.
Recalling his stint with the Ministry of Food
Processing at the Centre, Gogoi said, "while the BJP had
vehemently opposed the opening up of the Indian markets to
Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonald, Kellogs, nowadays these foreign
companies are very much present in the BJP-ruled states."
"Their presence has not affected the food sector in
any way but brought about healthy competitiveness and ensured
quality food products," the chief minister added.
Gogoi also expressed surprise at the role of DMK and
Trinamool Congress on the matter.
The CM was talking to reporters even as a country-wide
trade bandh, called by the Confederation of All India Traders
(CAIT), was observed during the day against the UPA
government`s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand
retail and 100 per cent in single brand retail.
On his government allowing foreign companies to set up
retail outlets in Assam, Gogoi skirting a direct reply said,
"the state governments have the option to allow or not allow
"If they are allowed, the companies will provide
better seeds for the agriculture produce benefiting both the
retailers and consumers," he said.
"Let the bill be passed first and then we will
decide. If some investment comes for food processing, then I
am in favour of allowing FDI here," he said.
"I welcome anybody who comes to invest in Assam", the
chief minister added.