Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to implement the decision to allow foreign direct investment in the multi-brand retail sector.
Following strong opposition from its key allies like Trinamool Congress (TMC), the UPA government had put on hold the decision to allow 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail segment.
“I urge the Prime Minister and Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma for early implementation of this policy,” the Chief Minister said.
He said this decision holds significance in unlocking the true potential of the country’s agrarian economy as in absence of adequate logistics and infrastructure, a larger part of farm produce never reaches the market.
Bahuguna said the decision to open the stores should be left to state governments.
“It is not mandatory for every state to implement the policy. Those states who want, should not be deprived of this decision. FDI in the sector will give impetus to our state economy,” he told reporters here.
The UPA government has renewed efforts for a consensus on on the politically-sensitive issue of FDI in retail, estimated to be a about $550 billion market.
“Farmers are at the mercy of middlemen and on the one hand, they do not get the true price for their produce, on the other hand, consumers ends up paying many times more than the price secured by the farmers,” he added.
The Chief Minister said allowing FDI will bring in investments, technologies, efficiencies and generate rural employment to strengthen rural economy.
“In Uttarakhand this will help in increasing the income of the rural farmers whose agri-horticulture-organic produce get spoiled in large quantity because of non-availability of cold storage and proper marketing facilities and FDI in retail would further help refraining migration of youth from the hilly region as the economic activities will activate there,” he said.
Anand Sharma to meet other CMs
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma will meet Punjab and Haryana chief ministers tomorrow to ascertain their views on FDI in multi-brand retail.
According to an official release, he would also discuss with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda issues related to industrial projects in both states as well as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
Sharma has already written to Badal seeking his cooperation on FDI in multi-brand retail, which has been put on hold pending further consultation.