Industry appears divided on FDI in retail

New Delhi: India Inc on Monday appeared to be divided on allowing FDI in multi-brand retail, an issue which has rocked Parliament and drawn stiff opposition from the UPA ally Trinamool Congress.

While FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) extended an all-out support to the government, CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) recommended "a calibrated approach for introducing FDI in the retail sector in terms of the percentage and minimum capitalisation requirements".

Addressing a press conference, FICCI Secretary General Rajiv Kumar said opening of the retail sector would create big employment opportunities in the country. Without naming, he said those industry associations which are opposing the foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail have a vested interest.

"This is just a fear that has been created for some vested interest. FDI in retail will be a game-changer like telecom. I see only positive impact on employment," he said.

CII, on the other hand, said while it "strongly supports the introduction of FDI in multi-brand retail trading, it recommends a calibrated approach for introducing FDI in the retail sector in terms of the percentage and minimum capitalisation requirements".

Kumar said the associations which are raising concerns that global retail chains like Walmart and Tesco would wipe out mom-and-pop stores are following a "politically motivated argument". Some traders` associations are arguing that about 40 million employed in this sector would loose their earnings because of opening of big foreign retail stores.

"In fact, foreign stores will generate employment and that will be higher quality employment. Small stores would also increase their employment to compete with the big retailers," he said.