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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

Rajnath snubs US envoy over retail FDI

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 26, 2013
First Published: 01:10 IST(26/3/2013) | Last Updated: 02:40 IST(26/3/2013)

US ambassador to India Nancy J Powell called on BJP president Rajnath Singh on Monday to discuss a range of political issues, including the FDI in multi-brand retail.

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During the course of 70-minute meeting, Powell is understood to have stressed on the "benefits" that could accrue for India if 51% FDI in retail was allowed and the market was opened up. But the BJP chief, however, told Powell that his party stood by its stand as it had examined all aspects concerning the FDI, particularly the likelihood of loss of jobs if structured international retail was allowed.

Singh reportedly told the US envoy that "the BJP is committed to economic reforms which are in national interest. Every change is not a reform. Some changes may end up hurting national economic interests."

The BJP president's view was that fragmented markets serve maximum interest, more than the consolidated markets. FDI in retail will consolidate the retail market and restrict only to end consumer interests.

In the first instance manufacturing sector jobs would be lost in India as international structured retail sourced internationally leading to a drop in domestic manufacturing.

Also, only 18% of Indians are in structured jobs, 51% of India's working population is self-employed. Along with agriculture, retail trade constitutes the largest provider of self employed jobs. Structured international retail would be harmful to job creation in India.

The UPA government continues to be optimistic on FDI in retail that was announced in September last year. The Economic Survey 2013 claimed that "FDI in retail will pave the way for investment in new technology and marketing of agriculture produce."

The BJP chief also highlighted security concerns for India in the event of a Taliban-friendly dispensation taking charge of Kabul.


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