BJP opposes FDI in multi-brand retail

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday warned the government against taking any ‘hasty steps’ to further open up the retail sector and called for a ‘blanket ban’ on foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.

‘A parliamentary committee headed by Murli Manohar Joshi (senior BJP leader), consisting of 42 members of parliament drawn from various political parties, studied this issue extensively and unanimously and proposed a blanket ban on entry of multi-brand MNC and Corporate Houses,’ BJP Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said in a statement here.

Opposing the department of industrial policy and promotion’s discussion paper on the need for FDI in multi-brand retail, she said: ‘In the absence of any organised study by the government of India it would be inadvisable to start a discussion in the abstract without realizing the consequences it will have on existing self-employment in the retail sector.’

‘The Bharatiya Janata Party cautions the government not to take any hasty steps in this direction,’ Sitharaman said.

The main opposition party said multinational corporations with their predatory pricing and large cash reserves can crush India’s existing retailers.

The BJP will form a five-member committee to go around the country to elicit the views of the state leaders on this issue, she said.

The discussion paper released Tuesday gave the invited views of various stakeholders on opening up the retail sector. The paper seeks public comment on empowering a federal agency to regulate foreign retailers. It also explores the possibilities of requiring foreign retail stores to reserve 50 percent of jobs for rural youth and limiting stores run by these retailers to towns with a population of more than one million.

If the proposal is accepted, it could provide a big opportunity to multinational retailers like Wal-Mart, Tesco, Carrefour and Woolsworth to enter the Indian market.

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