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‘NDA had favoured FDI in retail’

Seeking to punch holes in BJP's opposition to allowing Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail, Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Monday said the NDA government had readied a Cabinet note favouring 100 per cent FDI in the sector.

Addressing a gathering of Congress supporters here, Sharma lambasted the BJP for trying to 'mislead' the country on the issue and asserted that UPA government had taken the decision with 'conviction' and 'clarity' and there will not be any rethink on it.

'When it [BJP] was in power, a cabinet note was prepared. I had urged repeatedly that let the Parliament function. I would have tabled the Cabinet note seeking to allow 100 per cent FDI in retail,' Sharma said, attacking the BJP on the issue.

To counter the opposition parties, the Congress will organise a 'big rally' at Ramlila Maidan here on 28 October which will be addressed by PM Manmohan Singh, party president Sonia Gandhi besides other senior leaders.

Sharma said government has taken the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail considering the economic fundamentals and ground realities of the country and BJP's opposition to it reflected the party's 'hollowness'. 'We have framed the policy considering the ground realities and the social and economic disparities in the country,' he said adding, it is people of India who have approved the policy and it has not been brought in under the influence of any other country. Sharma was addressing a gathering at Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's residence, which was organised to educate party workers on the issue.

Rejecting criticism that allowing FDI in multi-brand retail will have an adverse impact on small retailers, Sharma said similar apprehensions were raised during prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee around 12 years back when McDonalds, Pizza Hut and other foreign entities were allowed to set up shops in India.

'Those apprehensions have proved wrong. The country has to move forward. Only the Congress has the will and courage to take the country forward. There is clarity in our thoughts. This is a concrete decision. It will not be changed,' he said.   
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