States should have been consulted first, he says

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday demanded immediate withdrawal of policy for allowing 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in the retail sector. Mr. Patnaik wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lodging a formal protest over the major shift in policy.

“I am deeply distressed to hear about the Union Cabinet's approval for allowing 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in the retail sector,” he said in the letter.

“In a federal country like ours the Union government should not have taken such a major policy decision without adequate consultation with the State governments,” the Chief Minister stated.

Biggest challenge

Mr. Patnaik said, “you will no doubt agree with me that the biggest challenge facing the country today is the persistent double digit inflation which is adversely impacting the life of the common man. Instead of taking immediate steps to tackle this problem the Central government has now allowed FDI in a sector which provides employment to a major section of the workforce of the country.”

“This move will only benefit the large multi-national companies which will have monopoly over retail trade in this country. Instead of that Union government should have strengthened the marketing opportunities for farmers and small scale manufacturers of the country through appropriate supply side interventions including stepping up investment in rural infrastructure and research and development for augmenting farm productivity,” he said.

Stir threat

State units of Left parties and Samajwadi Party have already announced intensifying of agitation against FDI in retail sector.

“The decision to allow FDI in retail sector would spell doom for crores of small traders in the country. At one stroke, the Union government has snatched employment opportunities from self-employed people in the country,” said Rabi Behera, president of State unit of SP.

  • Chief Minister dashes off a letter to the Prime Minister
  • The move will only benefit the large multi-national companies, he says