Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is hopeful of implementing the FDI in retail policy after March 2012, by which time the crucial assembly elections in several states, including Uttar Pradesh, would be over.
In an interview to US news agency Bloomberg on Wednesday, Singh said by then inflation would also come down, which would help secure popular support for the UPA government. The government had to suspend the roll out of the FDI in retail policy following stiff resistance from allies as well as opposition parties.
Congress’ biggest ally Trinamool Congress also played spoilsport and refused to support the government on the issue.
“There was inadequate preparation and some partners in the coalition developed cold feet. We didn’t have the time, the opposition took advantage,” Singh said in the interview.
“But I can assure you, India remains committed to a system of regulation that is supportive of enterprise and we will do everything to encourage foreign investment,” he added.
The PM said he would now concentrate on convincing the allies. He also admitted high inflation rates have made the UPA “unpopular”. He said while international commodity prices have pushed up costs in India, record food production should help ease inflation pressures.
“We have taken steps on the monetary policy side but we haven’t been as successful in the fiscal side,” Singh reminded.