The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has called a bharat vyapar bandh (all-India trade bandh) for Thursday against the decision of the UPA government to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent in single brand retail.

The CAIT Delhi unit said traders in the wholesale and retail markets in Walled City, Sadar Bazar, Kamla Nagar, Chawri Bazar, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Khan Market, Kashmere Gate, Tilak Nagar, Rohini and Krishna Nagar would down shutters.

CAIT Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal said over 10,000 trade organisations across the country were expected to participate in the bandh.

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has already extended its support to the bandh.

The government's move has received the support of the business chambers and even the domestic retail players like Big Bazaar, Reliance retail, Shoppers Stop and Aditya Birla group.

“Uneven playing field”

However, Mr. Khandelwal said the FDI decision would create an uneven playing field which would tilt towards the multi-national companies and prove to be a nightmare for traders and consumers. “The government should withdraw the permission of FDI in retail,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Khandelwal said the Indian retail sector was being run successfully by the indigenous capital at the rate of 15 per cent and contributing nearly 10 per cent of GDP, so no FDI was required.

“The foreign retailers can open in big cities, but they will source from mandis across rural India and small towns. With their money and power, overtime they can corner the supply of produce and dominate the outsourcing side,” he claimed.

Mayawati writes to PM

Lucknow Special Correspondent writes:

The Bahujan Samaj Party has pledged its support to the Bharat bandh. At a party meeting here, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati charged the UPA government with ignoring the country's interests.

Ms. Mayawati said she had written to the Prime Minister demanding that FDI be not permitted in the retail sector.

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