The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has voiced its strong opposition to any move by the Central Government to permit foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail sector in the country.

In a statement issued here, chamber president S. Rethinavelu said that the Union Commerce Ministry has reportedly sent a cabinet note to permit 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail sector.

Lobby

This move, he alleged, was being done at the behest of intense lobbying by multinational retail companies eyeing the Indian market, which is estimated to be worth Rs. 20 lakh crore by 2015, according to some studies. Such a move would adversely affect the livelihood of four crore small and medium retailers and their 20 crore dependents.

The trade body also noted a recent statement issued by Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma suggesting the enhancement of FDI limit in single brand retail sector to 74 per cent from the present 51 per cent.

While this move would not cause much harm, the Central Government must incorporate adequate riders into these proposals to protect well-developed products turned out by indigenous small and medium enterprises, he said.

However, Mr. Rethinavelu vehemently opposed any move to open FDI into multi-brand retail sector as it could affect a large number of the populace.

He also recalled that the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, C. Rangarajan, had turned down the view of an Inter-Ministerial Group on opening up the multi-brand retail sector as he had expressed doubts whether MNCs would establish ‘contact points' with farmers.

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