FM: Let states decide on retail FDI

New Delhi: In a clear message to allies and opponents, Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday asked them not to stand in the way of states wanting to implement FDI in retail and said efforts are on to work out an acceptable motion to face a Parliamentary vote.

"You can exercise your authority within your territorial limit, but don`t stand in the way of the others who want to implement it. Therefore, let there be an enabling provision and this is an enabling provision," he said while speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

Mukherjee`s remarks assume significance in the context of a deadlock in Parliament on the FDI issue, with allies Trinamool Congress and DMK also voicing strong opposition to permitting foreign investment in multi-brand retail. Narrow political gains, the minister regretted, were hampering early implementation of a policy framework even though it was being done in a calibrated and sensitive manner.

On whether the government would risk a vote in Parliament like the Indo-US Civil Nuclear deal, Mukherjee said, "We are discussing with the various political parties… Sometimes it appears that there is no meeting ground. But if we can find out an agreed text on which discussions can take place on the floor of the House amongst political parties, then perhaps we can resolve this issue."

However, he also added, "… But I am not quite confident and cannot say that we will be able to do it, but process is on."