Association sends memorandum outlining its opposition

The Tamil Nadu Food grains Merchants Association has come out strongly against any move to open up the retail sector for foreign direct investment (FDI) and multinational corporations.

The Centre on Tuesday had floated a paper seeking suggestions from various stakeholders on opening up multi-brand retail trading.

The Association has sent a memorandum outlining their opposition to opening up the retail sector for FDI.

Create facilities

Association secretary P. Subash Chandra Bose said that Government's thinking was flawed in that liberalising the sector would ensure adequate fund flows for developing the infrastructure. Despite 63 years of independence and having implemented many Five-Year plans, the country was deficient in post harvesting infrastructure such as warehouses and cold storages.

Creating these facilities would go a long way in ensuring farmers to get a fair price for their produce and also contribute towards the nation attaining self-sufficiency in food production.

India, with its billion-plus population, was a natural attraction for multinational companies, he said.

Many foreign companies were trying to enter various sectors such as food processing, seeds, fertilisers and agriculture.

In India, millions of people are dependent on small shops in the retail sector.

Their livelihoods could be jeopardised if the MNCs enter the sector.

Mr. Bose said that the Centre should impose a permanent ban on FDI into the retail sector besides informing the Monopoly Trade Control Act restrictions on major Indian corporate players. These moves were vital to protect the small and medium enterprises in food business sector, a press release said.