New Delhi, Aug 13 :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will not permit foreign equity in multi-brand retail trade, which was an assurance in the party’s election manifesto, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Wednesday.
In separate statements in the two houses of parliament, the minister said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had opposed any move in this regard as it will kill small traders and farmers.
“The mandate given to government is on the basis of our manifesto. We do not entertain FDI (foreign direct investment) in multi-brand retail,” she said in the Rajya Sabha during question hour.
In a related written reply to the lower house, the minister said: “As per the extant FDI policy, FDI upto 100 percent is permitted in single brand retail trading. No decision on FDI in multi-brand retail trading has been taken.”
The previous UPA government had approved FDI upto 51 percent in multi-brand retailing and upto 100 percent in single-brand retail.
Sitharaman, however, told the upper house the government has not initiated any move to rescind the policy of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.
She also said FDI flows have been inconsistent over the past few years. “During the last three years FDI inflow has fluctuated. FDI inflow decreased by 26.33 percent in 2012-13 and increased by 6.12 percent in 2013-14,” she said.
Replying to another question on FDI in e-commerce and the quantum received, the minister said that during April 2000 and April 2014, India received $37.1 million FDI in the sector.
“As per extant FDI policy, FDI up to 100 percent under the automatic route is permitted in B2B e-commerce activities. The present policy does not permit retail trading in any form, by means of e-commerce, for companies with FDI engaged in the activity of single/ multi brand retail trading,” Sitaraman said.