Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, on Thursday, conveyed to the domestic and global multi-brand retail investors that effective steps would be taken by the government at the earliest to address their concerns on investment and sourcing issues, and clarifications on the guidelines would be given shortly as demands were made to tweak the rules on the line of 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in single brand retail.
Talking to newsmen after a round-table meeting with the CEOs of leading domestic and global retail chains, Mr. Sharma said the objective of the policy was to encourage investments, job creation, benefits for the farmers and the consumers. “We have sufficient space to address the concerns raised by the investors and bring more clarity. The government will take an early and appropriate view, and issue the necessary guidelines in this regard,” he said. Mr. Sharma said he had convened this meeting to have an in-depth view of the issues faced by the multi-brand retail chains who were already operating in India and also the potential investors to not only give a clarity on the policy but also remove hurdles, if any, in the path of inflow of FDI in this sector.
On their part, the retailers demanded that foreign firms be allowed to put only 50 per cent of the first tranche of investment in back-end infrastructure. The industry was of the view that issues such as 30 per cent sourcing should be ‘preferable’ and not ‘mandatory’ as outlined in the policy as it was not possible to buy everything from the SMEs, Bharti Enterprises Vice-Chairman Rajan Bharti Mittal said.
Tata Services resident director Bharat Wakhlu said Mr. Sharma had assured the industry that he would come back on the points raised by it. Reliance Retail President Biju Kurien said it was important that clarifications were issued fast as it would generate greater interest among international retailers to invest in this country.