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Farmers Support FDI in Retail - FDI suspended
Our Bureau
Date of posting: 08-12-11
       Delegation of North Indian Farmers Meets Anand Sharma A large delegation of farmers from North India met the Union Minister of Commerce Industry and Textiles, Shri Anand Sharma, in December to register their support for the Government’s decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail sector. The farmers expressed their happiness that the policy removes middleman and aims to bring better prices for the farmer’s products.

      They also appreciated the fact that the government kept the farmers on the loop and worked for their benefit while bringing this important policy.

      Farmers informed the minister that current agrarian economy is exploitative for farmers and middleman corners all the profit. A progressive measure like FDI in retail should be supported. The also said that in case of undue pressure being applied against the policy, they will be constrained to come out on streets in its support.

      Shri Anand Sharma told the mediapersons after the meeting “as far as FDI is concerned, farmers have welcomed it and they want the govt to stand firm because they feel that it is in their interest. There will be investments which will lead to creation of infrastructure, warehousing, cold storage and generate employment and they will get a good price of their produce”.

      The new FDI policy has evolved after a process of intense stakeholder consultation which commenced on 6 July 2010, when a discussion paper was floated by the Ministry. Comments from a wide cross section of stakeholders including farmers associations, industry bodies, consumer forums, academics, traders associations, international investors were analyzed in depth before the matter was deliberated by the Committee of Secretaries on July 22, 2011. On August 3, 2011 the Minister explained the broad contours of the policy in the Rajya Sabha. Organizations like Consortium of Indian Farmers Association, All India Vegetable Growers Association, Bharat Krishak Samaj and Shetkari Sangathana have come out in support of the policy.

      Meanwhile, the government has changed course. "The decision to permit 51% FDI in multi-brand retail will be suspended till a consensus is developed through consultations with various stakeholders," the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said after the all-party meeting. Strongly defending the earlier decision of Nov. 25 to allow FDI in retail, Finance Minister told Congress MPs that the government was "compelled" to suspend the move to avoid "pre-mature elections".

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