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    States opposing FDI in multi-brand retail have constitutional right to do so: Anand Sharma


    States opposing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail have the constitutional right to do so and it should be respected, Sharma said.

    NEW DELHI: States opposing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail have the constitutional right to do so and it should be respected, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma has said. However, those who favour it should be allowed to go ahead, the minister added.

    ""We recognise those states who are in favour of it. It is their right, they are democratically elected governments of the provinces. Similarly there are states who have reservations. Under the constitution, we have to respect their wishes too,"" Sharma said talking to the media on Friday in New Delhi.

    Though the Union Cabinet had approved up to 51% FDI in November last year, the Centre has not yet introduced the policy change as the decision was met with strong opposition from a number of states including West Bengal, Bihar and Kerala.

    Since then the Centre has been trying to get states on board and officials from the department of industrial policy and promotion or DIPP have been meeting state government officials to satisfy their queries on the policy. ""The government has been engaged in the efforts to build a consensus after the decision was taken to have FDI in multi-brand retail (at the Central level), ""Sharma said. The government had said that we will again talk to all the stakeholders and the states concerned, he added.

    When asked whether Kerala would come on board, Sharma said the state has its reservations but is open to letting other states favouring it to do so. ""There are states who have reservations, and Kerala has its reservations, and it may not implement it (FDI in multibrand retail). However, he (Kerala chief minister Ooman Chandy) did say that they also respect the rights of the other states under the constitution of India. So those states who want to have it, they cannot be prevented,"" Sharma said.

    There are many chief ministers including those of large agrarian states, like Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra, and also Assam, who are in favour of FDI in multi-brand, the minister pointed out.

    Last week, Sharma had written to the CMs of Bihar, Punjab and Odisha seeking their support for the FDI policy in multi-brand. ""Opening up FDI in multi-brand retail will bring in much needed investments, technologies and efficiencies to unlock the true potential of the agricultural value chain,"" the letter said.

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