FDI in retail a pro-reform move: Pawar

Mumbai: Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday said that the Centre`s move to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail was a pro-reform measure which would benefit the farmers as well consumers. "The decision is applicable to areas where population is more than ten lakh. If farmers` produce reaches consumers directly, it is beneficial to both. This is pro-reform," he told reporters here.

"However, if a state government feels it is not beneficial, it is not mandatory to implement it. After all, the state government would give licenses," he added. To a query, the NCP chief said there was no need for him to take a separate stand over the issue as it was a Cabinet decision of which he was a part.

The Union Cabinet on Friday allowed 51 percent FDI in multi-brand stores and 100 percent FDI in single brand stores in the country. Government has maintained that farmers will get higher remuneration and the FDI will help developing logistics and cold chains in the country.

Pawar said that the prevailing economic situation was a cause of concern not only for India but across the globe. "Oil prices have skyrocketed and there have been direct and indirect repercussions on the common man. I understand that unhappiness among people can be converted into anger. It is a difficult situation which the government under Manmohan Singh will overcome," he added.