US welcomes Indian Parliament's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 08, 2012 05:52 hrs

The United States has welcomed the decision of the Indian Parliament to allow FDI in multi-brand retail after the UPA Government won a vote in the Rajya Sabha to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail by a margin of 14 (123 versus 109).

The Government got the required numbers in the Lok Sabha to defeat an opposition sponsored motion aimed at rejecting FDI in retail on Wednesday.

"We welcome the Indian parliament's decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail. As Indian officials have pointed out, FDI can create opportunities for small businesses, for farmers, spur investment in infrastructure and bring benefits to consumers as well as lower food prices," US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

While the opposition led by the BJP continued to criticize the government over foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector despite losing vote in both houses of parliament.

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "Wal-Mart has biggie back itself on the people, who claim to do politics of social justice. Wal-Mart has biggie back itself on the people, who clam to advocate the interest of poor, workers, Dalits (lowest caste) and marginalized."

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said: "What has happened today is not democracy. It is victory what is called supremacy of the market in economic reform terms."

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Shivanand Tiwari said: "It is against the interest of the country. This is the policy of the Congress Party. There is massive unemployment in the country. The government is unable to provide employment. It is not a country's interest allow Wal-Mart, Tesco, Metro and in sector where a person could be self-employed by investing small capital. The county will not forgive them"

Allowing foreign supermarkets into the country is aimed at drawing more overseas investment and taming inflation. India's retail market is reportedly worth about 450 billion dollars

The government had already won a vote on retail reform in the Lok Sabha two days earlier. Although both votes were non-binding, defeat would have piled pressure on Prime MInister Manmohan Singh to roll back the measure.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, defending the government's stand on the issue, said: "The BJP always makes this allegation and I would wish that they were better losers, they lost in the Lok Sabha, they have lost in the Rajya Sabha and they are making these allegations. This was a rejection of the politics of the BJP. I have said so from the beginning that this is nothing but politics, there was no issue of FDI because FDI has been left to the states and of there was anything left in this debate, it was pure politics. So, this is the rejection of the politics of BJP."

Finance Minister P.Chidambaram said: "To demand the vote in the Rajya Sabha that it is the right of the Rajya Sabha to ask for a vote. They asked for a vote, we showed that we had a clear majority." (ANI)

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