Amid divergent views on opening of multi-brand retail to foreign investment, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today said the government will take the "next step" on this issue at an appropriate time.
"We have been in democratic spirit working very openly and sincerely in strengthening the consensus. Each states has its own view. At the appropriate time, the Government will take the next step," Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by CII here. "We have taken a in-principle decision on FDI (foreign direct investment) in multi brand retail also...we believe creation of an integrated value chain will address post harvest management problems," he said. Therefore, he said, investment in creating the infrastructure, food processing and cold chains will create jobs. Besides, it will be useful for farmers and positively transform the agrarian economy, he added.
The decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail was announced in November last year. But its implementation was put on hold after strong protests from various parties including key UPA-ally Trinamool Congress. The government has now been making renewed efforts to forge a consensus on the politically contentious issue. Recently, the UPA supporting Samajwadi Party also opposed the decision. Recently, JD-U President Sharad Yadav joined hands with Left and SP in opposing foreign direct investment in retail. "Decisions are taken in any democracy in a inclusive transparent manner following consultative process...there have been reservations by some political parties (on FDI in multi-brand retail)," Sharma said. At the same time, a large number of parties in the state were in favour, he added.