Even as the Union Cabinet decided to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and enhanced the limit for single-brand retail to 100 per cent from the present 51 per cent, the Manmohan Singh government made all efforts all day to get West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on board to back its decision.
The Trinamool Congress chief and her colleague, Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, had sought postponement of the decision on FDI multi-brand retail stating that more consultations were needed to address the interests of the farmers. “We are always pro-farmer. We can keep the country smiling only because of farmers and industry. Let industry smile, let agriculture also smile. There are some matters in FDI that may need further discussion. Let the matter come up in our party, we will discuss it in our Parliamentary Committee,” Ms. Banerjee told reporters at the ongoing India International Trade Fair here during the day. Interestingly, she was accompanied by Union Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.
Mr. Sharma had also held a round of discussions with Ms. Banerjee explaining that government had put some riders in the approvals for FDI in multi-brand retail that would protect the interests of the farmers as well as small scale industries. It was not clear whether Mr. Sharma was able to get the approval of the Trinamool chief or not.
However, the Chief Minister said Mr. Trivedi would put forth before the Union Cabinet the views of the party, which is an important ally of United Progressive Alliance-II.