Defending the Centre’s decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI)-in-retail and other pro-reform steps in insurance and pension sectors, Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said the green signal for this was given after much deliberation with the chief ministers for attracting investment.
Addressing mediapersons on Monday, Narayanasamy said it was deferred once because of objections from some chief ministers. But the Government had to take such hard decisions to attract FDI and continue with the growth rate, he added.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) opposed the decision and quit the UPA, the Minister said and added that there is no danger to the government as two more parties are supporting it. Stating that the FDI-in-retail will usher in the needed development in farm sector, he said farmers would get better price for their products. There would be no middlemen.
Narayanasamy, however, welcomed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s stand on FDI-in-retail sector, saying BJD MPs would make their party’s stand clear during the debate in Parliament. “We hope the BJD MPs will support the Centre in the interest of the country,” he said.
Criticising the BJP for opposing the decision, Narayanasamy said the NDA had taken a decision in 2003, when Vajpayee was the prime minister, to allow FDI-in-retail. The same party is now opposing the decision, he said.
Stating that a multibrand retail chain will be created in the country because of the decision, the Minister said it will create employment opportunities for two crore people in the next three years. Consumers will also get goods at a cheaper price, he said. This will bring in an investment of at least $ 700 million to the country in the near future.
The states have freedom to decide whether or not to allow retail chains in their areas. The Chief Ministers of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have announced that they will allow retail chains, the Minister said. Later at the Congress headquarters where he addressed leaders and party workers, Narayanasamy said the size of the 12th Five-Year Plan has been fixed at Rs 1,00,000 crore for Odisha. Besides, there has also been adequate provision of funds for the State under different Central welfare programmes.