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States divided over retail FDI
Badal opposes Centre’s decision; Capt hails it
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 15
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said no to introduction of FDI (foreign direct investment) in the retail sector in the state. He also declined to reduce VAT on fuel.

Even though Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was reportedly in favour of FDI in retail during the previous tenure of the SAD-BJP government, Badal senior today categorically said that the Shiromani Akali Dal had already passed a resolution against FDI in retail and the party totally supported the NDA on the issue.

“We are with the NDA on the issue whether we suffer profit or loss in it,” he said brushing aside a question on the change of stand on FDI by the SAD.

Talking to mediapersons after addressing the 105th meeting of the All-India Council of Mayors here today, he criticised the Centre for hiking fuel prices, but justified the imposition of property and various other taxes in the state by arguing that development was not possible without the collection of taxes.

Punjab will reportedly suffer a burden of Rs 500 crore in the farm sector due to the Rs 5 per litre hike in diesel.

Defending VAT and other taxes in the state, Badal said the Centre was forcing the state to generate resources through such taxes. “All central government grants and funds are coming with stringent conditions. The state government is just following the conditions.”

Former CM Captain Amarinder Singh has, meanwhile, welcomed FDI in retail and asked Parkash Singh Badal to implement it in Punjab instead of indulging in cheap politics on the issue.

A spokesman for the former Chief Minister said that FDI in retail would bring in foreign players and big companies that would buy products directly from the farmers. Middlemen, who were pocketing most of the profit at the moment, would be eliminated.

Deputy CM and president of the SAD, Sukhbir Singh Badal, had supported FDI reportedly in a communication to Commerce Minister Anand Sharma during the previous tenure of the SAD-BJP government. However, under pressure from the BJP, the SAD had withdrawn its support to FDI.




Consumers, farmers will gain: Hooda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has hailed the decision of the Union Cabinet to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

This would benefit all stakeholders, specially farmers and consumers, and would attract investment in Haryana which accounts for 44 per cent of the National Capital Region and offers a huge market, he said here today.

Hooda said that the farmers would be greatly benefited from the direct purchase of the produce by the retail chains at better prices.

The state government has already introduced provisions in the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act to facilitate introduction of supply chain and to develop a network of agri-produce collection centres close to the farms where necessary infrastructure can now be developed in public-private partnership mode. This will enable the private sector to directly make purchases from these centres.

The CM said investment in organised retail trade by foreign investors would also bring in latest technology in establishment of cold chains and prevent food wastage due to lack of post-harvest infrastructure.

The opening up of retail trade would also boost investors’ confidence in the Indian economy and would give necessary impetus to the economic growth of the country, he said.




Retail recoil: M’rashtra traders plan agitation
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Prithviraj Chavan, Maharashtra CMMumbai, September 15
The Maharashtra Government, which has been at the forefront in demanding foreign direct investment in retail, has welcomed the Centre's move to allow 49 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the entry of foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail will result in all-inclusive growth in the country.

"Our country has accepted the model of inclusive growth but despite our GDP reaching 9 per cent level, the challenge of inequality is still there," Chavan said.

The CM felt that the entry of multinationals in Indian retail trade would provide a major fillip to India's agriculture sector which grew at just 2 per cent as compared to 9.5 per cent growth in the service sector.

Meanwhile, retail businesses in Mumbai and other cities of Maharashtra have threatened to oppose FDI in retail. The Federation of Associations of Maharashtra has threatened strikes and protests to prevent the entry of multinational retail outlets in the state.





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