Terming it as a major step towards unleashing the second generation reforms, India Inc on Friday hailed the UPA II Government's decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, saying the move would help bring in the much-needed capital required for rural infrastructure.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said it strongly supported the introduction of FDI in multi-brand retail as it would benefit consumers, producers (farmers), small and medium enterprises and generate significant employment. “This would open up enormous opportunities in India for expansion of organised retail and allow substantial investment in back-end infrastructure such as cold chains, warehousing, logistics and expansion of contract farming,'' CII President B. Muthuraman said in a statement.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Harsh Mariwala said: “We welcome the long awaited move of the Government of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. It is a step which will have positive implications for various segments like food processing, farming and SMEs. This policy initiative is expected to bring more investments not just in the front end but also in the back-end infrastructure, which would result in reduced wastages and would also help in addressing the issue of inflation over a period of time.''