Vehemently protesting against the opening up of the retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI), Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday said her government would not allow multi-brand global players to set up their hyper markets in Tamil Nadu.

Arguing that the move would not serve to bring down inflation or improve market efficiency, she demanded that the decision to allow up to 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent in single-brand retail be reversed immediately. She also attacked the Centre for not consulting the State governments.

“While Parliament is in session, this move of the Centre to announce such a major policy decision affecting millions of people outside Parliament, without even consulting the State governments, is unprecedented and indicates the overweening arrogance of the UPA government,” she said in a statement here. Rather, the decision would seriously hit the domestic manufacturing and services sectors. Retail trade would be completely taken over by big retail giants, which was not good for the country, she said. Therefore, her government would not allow multi-brand global players to set up shop here, the Chief Minister added.

Ms. Jayalalithaa's statement comes a day after Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma announced at a press conference here that five states (Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Orissa) were ready to welcome foreign companies in the retail sector and added that the FDI policy took into the consideration the interest of small farmers.

She said the announcement came as a rude shock to millions of vendors, as it would affect their livelihood completely, besides destroying the unorganised retail sector within the next couple of years. Accusing the Centre of stirring a hornet's nest, she said the purported intention of the Centre appeared to bring more FDI into the country to improve market efficiency and bring down the double-digit inflation prevailing in the country, mainly due to the series of policy blunders made by the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

“While the Government of India talks about creation of 10 million jobs in the next three years, this will lead to 40 million people being uprooted and thrown out from their business. Most of these people are not well educated and will remain unemployed for ever…Therefore, I strongly feel that this decision of Government of India is a wrong decision, taken under pressure from a few retail giants, who are starved for capital infusion for their future survival.”