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Many chief ministers want FDI in multi-brand retail: Sharma

Wednesday June 27, 2012 10:35:15 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Many chief ministers, including non-Congress ones, support the proposal to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Wednesday.

"Now you have a fairly good number of chief ministers who have come out in support...We have continued a dialogue in a democratic spirit, a very open dialogue with the states," Sharma told reporters here after Coca-Cola Chairman Muhtar Kent met him.

Sharma said he had written letters to chief ministers of states ruled by non-Congress parties such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Odisha seeking their support for allowing overseas investment in multi-brand retail.

The minister said in Brussels Tuesday that he would also write to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seeking his support on the issue.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government early this year suspended the implementation of the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail following protests from principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and some of the key allies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), notably the Trinamool Congress.

Sharma hoped the decision would be implemented soon or later.

"Things will move... a decision has been taken. It was paused only for a larger consensus. Government has been very sincere. What we said was that we will have more consultation. To have a greater consensus. And we have been doing that since then," he said.

He said the government was doing consultations with various stakeholders to reach a broad consensus on the issue.

"The ministry of food and consumer affairs had a stakeholders' consultation. I at my level have been doing consultation. The secretary DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion ) is talking to chief secretaries and other officials of the state, so there is an ongoing dialogue as there should be a discourse in the democracy.

"And I am very positive and much reassured by understanding that has come from large of states and the highest level of the leadership," the minister added.





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