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UPA govt does not believe in 'rollback': Anand Sharma

PTI  Ahmedabad, September 19, 2012
First Published: 18:22 IST(19/9/2012) | Last Updated: 22:53 IST(19/9/2012)

Defending the decision to allow FDI in retail, Union minister of commerce and industry Anand Sharma today said the UPA does not believe in the word 'rollback', as it made the move after much deliberation.

"We are not going to go back on the decision as we do not believe in the word 'rollback' and this decision was taken after consultation with each and every state," he said.

He has also expressed confidence that the UPA government will last its full term.

Sharma was addressing the media in Ahmedabad at the state Congress headquarters following the inauguration of new campus of National Institute of Design (NID) at Gandhinagar.

"In last November, we had taken two decisions. One was to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail and second was to allow 100% in single brand. The second one was implemented but we suspended the implementation of first, until another round of consultations," he claimed.

He firmly replied in affirmative when asked about whether TMC leader Mamata Banerjee was consulted prior to the latest decision.

"I have talked to Mamata Banerjee three times, wrote letters as I have written to all the chief ministers and then also talked to her," he said.

Expressing shock over the strong criticism by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi over the FDI issue, he said, "I am surprised the way Modi has reacted on the issue. We can show Draft Cabinet note in which Gujarat has endorsed FDI in multi-brand retail. Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were the only two BJP-ruled states who were in favour of it during the first stage of consultations," he said.

Later, Gujarat had not opposed FDI in retail but said they would think over it. Now the state is reacting in a different tune altogether," Sharma said.

Defending the decision, he said, "We have formed the policy based on the ground reality, diversity, complexity and based on socio-economic reality of the country."

"Almost 90% of the countries in the world including China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Mexico have allowed FDI in retail, but none has put conditions for it. India is the only nation which has set conditions for FDI," he further said.

Outlining the advantages of the decision they have taken, he said, "We have allowed only 51% FDI and out of that 50% has to be invested in villages. We are second in the world in producing fruits and vegetable, but more then 40% produce is lost before reaching the market. The decision has been taken to have our farmers realise their price."

He refuted the allegations that UPA government has taken unilateral decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail sector.

"In our federal system, every state has equal status and respect. There were many states who vehemently favoured and demanded the FDI. We respect those states too who are against it. But it is Union Government's duty and responsibility to respect states which want FDI," he said.

Slamming BJP for its opposition to the issue, the Union minister said, "NDA government under the BJP had even proposed a policy of allowing FDI without any conditions. Draft cabinet note was prepared for 100% FDI without conditions. And now they are crying foul."

"Parliament is under assault by an Opposition which does not want to discuss anything for the benefit of the people on the floor of the House. When there will be a discussion, everything will be put on table, truth will prevail," he said.



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