Economy Sep 17, 2012
Uttar Pradesh and BJP-ruled states on Sunday said they will not implement FDI in multi-brand retail which got the support of states like Jammu and Kashmir and Assam where Congress and allies are in power.
As the stand taken by state governments on executing Centre's decision yesterday to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail went along party lines, the BJD government in Odisha said it would examine the matter.
BSP also joined the BJP in opposing the FDI decision while the RJD backed the Centre.
BJP spokesperson Jagat Prakash Nadda said all states in which the party is in power are unanimous in their opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail.
The parties and alliances ruling in 11 major states including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have opposed the Centre's decision which has also been opposed by the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu.
If one went by the 2011 Census data, there are 37 cities with more than one million population in 11 states ruled by the parties opposed to the decision.
States which have supported the Centre's decision include Maharashtra, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Assam--all ruled by UPA.
These states have 19 cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Vijaywada and Srinagar with more than one million population.
As per the FDI policy approved by the Cabinet, the final authority for granting the trade licence rests with the states under their respective Shops and Establishment Acts. Also, foreign retailers will only be allowed to set up shop in cities with a population of more than one million.
A day after giving a 72-hour deadline to the Centre to roll back its FDI decision and diesel price hike, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said reforms did not mean "selling out everything".
"I do not support any decision to sell out everything. This might suit one section of the government," she said.
"Samajwadi Party's view is very clear on the FDI issue and it will not implement it in Uttar Pradesh," UP Chief Minister Yadav said in Lucknow.
"Foreign investment in grocery cannot be accepted leaving our people jobless. It will not be implemented in Madhya Pradesh," Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in Bhopal.
Mamata Banerjee, known for her stiff opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail, said, "A series of unilateral and anti-people decisions might help in raising Sensex points only for the time being. I agree that Sensex must be stable, but at the same time, policy and planning should not be used to impose back-breaking burden on the common people."
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the state government will do whatever is best for Odisha and its people.
"The Centre has left it to state governments. Therefore, we will examine it carefully," he said in Bhubaneswar.
National Conference leader and J and K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he was glad the Centre made the FDI announcement in retail and leaving it to states to decide.
Criticising the chief ministers opposing the decision, he asked, "Why should (West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamata (Banerjee) or (UP Chief Minister) Akhilesh Yadav decide what is bad or good for J&K?"
Meanwhile, defending the Centre's decision, RJD chief Lalu Prasad said farmers stood to gain from FDI in multi-brand retail as they will get a fair price of their produce. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi too welcomed the announcement and said those states opposed to FDI in retail should not prevent others from implementing it.
Gogoi described the decision of the Union Cabinet as "very bold" and said under no circumstances should it be reversed.
However, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the government and said it will affect the domestic manufacturing and lead to massive job losses.
Describing FDI in retail as "anti-people", BSP supremo and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati said her party has been opposing the policy from the last one year.
Congress-ruled Haryana's Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda hailed the Centre's decision and congratulated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his "bold initiative".
Punjab, where BJP is a junior partner in the government led by ally SAD, was initially in favour of FDI in multi-brand retail before throwing its lot with BJP-ruled states.
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