Mamata clout waning, several Cong chief ministers press for FDI in retail
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The possibility of the Trinamool's exit from the UPA has thrown open a window of opportunity for the government to push through foreign direct investment (FDI) in multibrand retail, especially with several Congress chief ministers, including Sheila Dikshit of Delhi, aggressively pushing for it.
"I as a person would welcome FDI. It is a revolution that is taking place in the country. In India, we have to get on to modern technology and means," Dikshit said at the Express Adda in Mumbai on Saturday.
Other Congress chief ministers have criticized Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee for blocking the implementation of the proposal, cleared by the union cabinet last November, permitting 51 per cent FDI in multibrand retail.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the central government must not allow any one state to veto the proposal. "You (the Centre) can always put a rider that states which do not want it should be allowed not to do it," Chavan said.
"Once such states see the benefits accruing to other states from FDI in this sector, they will come around. But one state should not be allowed to veto it. If some state has some ideological objection to it, they can say 'don't set up shop in my state'. But you cannot deny the benefit to others," he said.
FDI in the retail sector entails benefits like reduction of the role of middlemen and the modernisation of agriculture among others, Chavan added.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda stressed the benefits retail FDI would bring to farmers. "Farmers will be the biggest beneficiary of FDI in the retail sector with more investment in developing infrastructure like cold chains, processing facilities, etc," Hooda said recently at the Idea Exchange programme at The Indian Express.
Speaking at Adda — a unique event at which a selected audience participates in a freewheeling discussion with individuals at the centre of change in our times — Dikshit pointed out that about 30-40 per cent of vegetables and other perishable goods in Delhi are wasted.
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