'Retail FDI to up farm income'

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 06, 2011 05:40 hrs

Supporting the proposed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, Union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma has said it would be good for farmers and lead to the increase in farm income.

"Today, the Indian farmers get only 1/3rd of the retail price of agricultural commodities. With FDI in retail, the farmers would get 2/3rd of the price," he emphasised.

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Verma said China, Russia and Indonesia allowed 100 per cent FDI in retail, whereas the proposal in India was for only 51 per cent FDI.

"The country's retail volume is massive and the opening it for FDI would not finish it off," he told newspersons.

Verma was in town for a seminar on 'Challenges for Steel Industry in Uttar Pradesh: Raw Material, Infrastrucutre and Rural Consumption' organised by FICCI.

Verma stressed the need for increasing awareness about steel and popularising it as a substitute to conventional items of household use.

"The Indian iron and steel industry lacks facilities for pelletisation and benefication because of which lower quality iron ore is wastefully dumped and close to 50 per cent of the country's total iron ore production of 200 million tonnes is exported," he said.

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He said the expenditure on steel research and development is about 0.3 per cent, which was very less.

Meanwhile, Verma urged chief minister Mayawati to facilitate granting the iron ore mining lease at Lalitpur. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) had applied for securing the mining lease, but the clearance for the same is pending with the state government, he claimed.

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