Replying to the discussion before the vote in the Lok Sabha on FDI in multi-brand retail, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma dismissed the Opposition’s charge that the move would hurt small t
Replying to the discussion before the vote in the Lok Sabha on FDI in multi-brand retail, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma dismissed the Opposition’s charge that the move would hurt small traders and farmers and that the government did not work for a consensus. The minister said the decision was not taken overnight and deliberations were held with chief ministers and other stakeholders, like the association of farmers, consumer organisations and representatives of the food processing industry. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who had moved the motion, maintained that the majority of the House was against FDI in retail, which was reflected in the speeches of leaders of different political parties. She said that going by the speeches in the debate, the leaders of the various parties that extended support in favour of the motion and against bringing FDI in multi-brand retail had 282 votes and those against it had 224 votes. Mr Sharma said out of 21 states which responded to the Centre’s communication on the issue, 11 supported in writing the move to open multi-brand retail to FDI. Only seven states opposed the proposal, while a few sought clarification, he said, adding that he personally met the chief ministers of Punjab, Orissa and West Bengal. He said the Centre decided to leave the final decision to the states.