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PM assures India Inc of speeding up reforms

During his interactions with industry captains on Tuesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government is making renewed efforts to evolve consensus among stakeholders on allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.

twitter-logo PTI   New Delhi     Last Updated: March 6, 2012  | 21:25 IST

The government on Tuesday assured industry leaders that it is working on economic reforms and making "renewed efforts" to evolve consensus among stakeholders on allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has communicated to us that renewed efforts are being made to form consensus and open up the multi-brand retail for foreign investments," Assocham Senior Vice-President Rana Kapoor said after a meeting with the Prime Minister.

The issue concerning economic reforms was discussed by Singh in a meeting with Assocham President Rajkumar Dhoot and other members of the chamber, including Kapoor.

The government has to put on hold its decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail due to stiff opposition from its key UPA ally Trinamool Congress and other political parties.

After that, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has started wider consultations with stakeholders, including farmers, consumers and the food processing industry.

Last month, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said the government is committed to reforms for consolidating economic strengths.

"We have further liberalised FDI in single-brand retail, and a consensus for operationalising the decision taken to open FDI in multi-brand retail trading is being pursued," Mukherjee had said.

Several global retailers like Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour are waiting in the wings to enter India's multi-brand retail segment.
On allowing investments by foreign airlines in Indian carriers, Kapoor said, "the Prime Minister said the government is actively looking into it."

Recently, the Group of Ministers (GoM) on civil aviation has cleared the proposal to allow foreign airlines to take up to 49 per cent equity stake in India's domestic airlines, but the Cabinet nod is expected only after the Budget.

At present foreign airlines are barred from investing in Indian carriers, although other foreign companies can take as much as a 49 per cent stake in them.

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