FDI in retail is a "national imperative" and will benefit farmers and small traders immensely, law minister Ashwani Kumar said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
"Permitting FDI in multi-brand retail is a national imperative... every segment of India's economy stands to gain by this policy," he said while participating in the debate in the upper house of parliament on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
The minister said farmers were with the government and supported the FDI move and the community "will have everything to rejoice" once FDI came in.
"The Bharatiya Kisan Union in Punjab has supported us. The Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan in Maharashtra has supported it. No farmer has taken to the road against this policy. Because they know sooner or later that the direct beneficiaries of this policy will be farmers," he said.
Ashwani Kumar said almost 35 to 40% of fruits and vegetables were destroyed every year in the country and farmers were losing up to Rs.65,000 crore annually because of the lack of infrastructure, back-end facilities, transport and cold chains.
But with FDI in retail, a significant amount of investment would be pumped into the critical back-end infrastructure that will "directly and positively affect the future of the farmer in India", he said.
"There are moments in the life of a nation when certain decisions have to be taken at a particular period of time. We should rise above partisan politics. This policy will determine the future of India," he said.