The Shivraj Singh government has strongly objected to the Union cabinet’s decision to allow 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail sector.
“I am not opposed to foreign investment, but it should come in the field of infrastructure”, said Chouhan in a statement on Friday evening. The chief minister added that the lives of lakhs of families were dependent on grocery and small businesses. “Foreign investment in this sector would lead to a crisis of livelihood for lakhs of families and unemployment would only grow. Hence, investment in retail sector could not be accepted,” he stated.
The opposition Congress countered Chouhan’s argument saying that the decision would ensure sale of quality product to consumers on reasonable prices. State Congress media in-charge Manak Agrawal said that the decision was in the larger interest of the consumers and they would now get quality products at cheaper rates. The state unit of the BJP condemned the decision and said it was a great setback to retail traders of the country. Party spokesperson Vijesh Lunawat said that the party would take the fight of retailers to the street.
CPM leader Pramod Pradhan said the Union government was now working in haste to execute an “American agenda” in the country undermining the overwhelming public opinion against steps like FDI in retail sector. “Reports in American media describing Manmohan Singh as a weak PM, a leader gone off-track only meant that he was not rapidly working on the American agenda and the PM has responded by raising diesel and LPG prices yesterday and allowing FDI in multi-brand retail today.”