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Govt will not roll back decision to allow FDI in retail: Sharma

The government made it clear that the decision will not be rolled back as it is in the interest of farmers and consumers.

New Delhi: Unfazed by the strong opposition to allowing FDI in retail even from some allies, the government today made it clear that the decision will not be rolled back as it is in the interest of farmers and consumers.

Addressing a group of farmers here, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail trading will help farmers in getting good price for their produce besides creating lakhs of jobs.

"This decision is final. This decision will not be rolled-back. We are not afraid of anything. This decision is taken in the interest of the farmers and consumers," he told the farmers at the Congress headquarters.

Seeking to allay fears that small shopkeepers would be impacted by big retail chains, Sharma said the decision was taken after comprehensive consultations with all the stakeholders including farmers, consumers and industry leaders.

His assertion comes against the backdrop of strong opposition to FDI in retail with even UPA constituent DMK saying yesterday that it would back any opposition-sponsored resolution in Parliament on the issue.

Some UPA allies including Samajwadi Party are also opposed to the decision and another outside supporter Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (P), with two members in Lok Sabha, has decided to withdraw its backing to the government.

Sharma maintained that it is up to the state governments to permit global retailers to open stores in their respective areas.

Lambasting Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for opposing the FDI policy, Sharma said she cannot "threaten" other states into not implementing the decision.

"She cannot threaten Haryana, she cannot decide for Delhi or Rajasthan," he said.

Trinamool Congress last month withdrew support to the government after the Union Cabinet decided to go ahead with allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.

Banerjee yesterday held a rally here against the FDI decision and threatened to move a no-confidence motion against the government in the next session of Parliament.

The farmers later met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to thank her for the decision.


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