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Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 14, 2014
Terming the Delhi government's decision to not allow FDI in multi-brand retailing as "abrupt, irresponsible and ill-considered," commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma on Tuesday said India is not a banana republic where policy decisions can be reversed. The ministry, he said, will examine the communication of the newly installed Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government on reversing the earlier decision of the state to allow foreign direct investment policy in multi-brand retail trading.

"There is a gazette notification after the (Congress-led) Delhi government approved the policy. It is notified. We are not a banana republic. India has never seen such policy reversals," he said.

The minister said the decision of the new government, which is in a minority, is "irresponsible, ill-considered, abrupt and arbitrary. It is a regressive decision. Responsible governments can ill-afford to take arbitrary decisions and knee-jerk reactions."        

In a major policy reversal, the AAP government wrote to the Centre to withdraw the approval given by the previous Sheila Dikshit government for FDI in multi-brand retailing in Delhi, saying the entry of global chains such as Walmart and Tesco in India would result in large-scale job losses.

Sharma, however, said the Centre had formulated the policy after wide consultations with all stakeholders, including farmer unions, MSMEs and state governments.

"The question is whether the farmers, consumers and small entrepreneurs are part of the lexicon of Aam Aadmi or are excluded. The view that it may lead to job losses has neither any merit nor any logic," he added.

Sharma said the communication received by the ministry of commerce and industry does not give any reasons for the withdrawal of the policy.