Government looking at FDI in multi-brand retail: Sharma

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New Delhi: The Indian government is consulting various stake-holders on allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and the scope of such investments in other sectors, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Tuesday

"FDI in multi-brand retail is part of the discussion paper being prepared by our ministry. We are also studying the scope of FDI in sectors like agriculture, defence and retail," Sharma told reporters here, releasing a strategy paper on growth of engineering exports.

A day earlier, he had said that the government was not working on the modalities of opening up multi-brand retail to foreign investors as it was still trying to strengthen back-end of the retail industry.

"Back-end operations have to be strengthened first as it would lead to value addition, higher remuneration to farmers and also create jobs," he said Monday.

The current policy allows 51 percent FDI in single-brand retail only. The government has not allowed foreign companies to run multi-brand stores in India. The policy allows 100 percent FDI only in cash-and-carry or wholesale trading.

The government is expected to seek industry opinion next month to change FDI norms in sectors like defence, agriculture, retail and pharma.

According to the minister, FDI in India since liberalisation in 1990-91 has been $175 billion. The FDI investment during April-February 2009-10 was $33 billion, he said.
Source: IANS
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