FDI in retail decision likely after Par session

New Delhi: The much-awaited decision on foreign direct investment (FDI) in politically sensitive multi-brand retail may be taken up by the Cabinet after the winter session of Parliament, a high level source said.

"We have doubts whether it can be placed before the Cabinet in the next few days. The Prime Minister is returning on Monday from India-ASEAN summit in Bali and Parliament session is beginning from Tuesday," the source said.

Though several ministries, including Finance and MSME have given their consent to the draft Cabinet note, suggesting 51 per FDI in the multi-brand retail, the Industry Ministry has to "consolidate and include" finer points or objections from any of the departments, he said.

The government may avoid a major policy announcement during the Parliament session, especially when it is a politically sensitive issue. Most of the Opposition parties, including the Left and BJP are against opening up the sector to the global retail giants.

There are concerns that allowing majors like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco would lead to unemployment among the unorganised sector, dominated by the kirana shops.

However, with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) receiving the "political backup" is keen to come up with some of the big-bang announcements on FDI in the wake of very difficult global economic environment.

Eurozone crisis has shaken the investor confidence in the stock markets, leading to a pressure on rupee. Allowing 100 per cent FDI cap in single brand retail from 51 per cent is also among the big-ticket agenda on the cards.

Though inflows were robust in the initial months of the current fiscal, FDI slowed down in September to USD 1.65 billion from USD 2.11 billion a year ago.