New Delhi: Presenting the government’s point of view on the FDI in the multi-brand retail debate, Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal said, “The issue of FDI in the multi-brand is being hyped.”
The senior Congress leader accused Opposition of leveling baseless allegations that FDI is a sell-out.
“Only 53 cities in India qualify for FDI in retail. If any state government does not want to bring FDI in retails they are most welcome. But if any state Chief Minister want to bring FDI then no one can stop them too,” Sibal added.
Sibal said further, “No one is being forced to bring FDI in retail so what is the need of this debate. This debate is completely of no use and is happening only due to the pressure of some political parties.”
“I want to further appeal through you, Madam Speaker to the leader of the Opposition to continue with her views,” Sibal said.
“It is foolish to say presence of foreign retails will kill small retailers in Indian cities,” Kapil asserted.
The minister further said, “A new kind of federal structure was being suggested in the country by the opposition, which was ignoring the fact that the policy allowed the states whether or not to permit an FDI project in retail.”
"The purpose of the policy is that the farmer should get a higher price than he gets in the mandi (market)," he said.
"Only 15 to 17 percent of the market price goes to the farmer. Opposition leaders should decide whether they are with the farmer or with the middleman... We are with the farmer and consumer... you are with the middleman," Sibal said.
The minister cited the case of West Bengal, saying Pepsico there bought agricultural produce from 10,000 farmers.
"The market price of potato is Rs.3 per kg, Pepsico gives Rs.7 per kg," he said.
He also stressed that implementing FDI in retail was dependent on the state governments and no one was being forced to accept it.
"It was decided that retail will only be in cities with over 10 lakh population. There are 53 such cities. After that we felt some states have opposition government. If we separate the states that don`t want it, there are 18 cities left," Sibal said.
"So if FDI in retail will be implemented in only 18 cities, why the debate that is happening," he said.
"If you don`t want FDI in multi-brand retail, don`t (implement it). But what about the states where chief ministers want it, how can you stop them? This is a new definition of federal structure that one state will tell another that I will not implement it but will not let you do it either," he said.
"This debate is not needed at all, it is a totally political debate," he said.
Enumerating the merits of the policy, he said the investors will have to invest at least $100 million, half of which will be in creating infrastructure.