India will soon take a decision on allowing foreign investment in multi-brand retail business, for which business bodies and governments of the West have long been clamouring for, minister of commerce, industry and textiles Anand Sharma said today.
The government has already allowed 100 per cent foreign participation in single brand retail while a decision to allow majority (51 per cent) FDI participation in multi-brand retail, announced in November last year, had to be put on hold after strong protest from various parties.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Global Investment Conference in London, Sharma said the government would soon take a "political call" on the contentious issue of FDI in multi-brand retail, as a decision cannot be postponed indefinitely.
Sharma, who also met senior ministers in the David Cameron government, said the government is trying to arrive at a consensus not only among political parties but also among all stakeholders, including farmers, small scale industry and community groups.
According to Sharma, opposition to retail FDI in India is more of a political weapon than an economic necessity. He also feels that there are differences in views among opposition parties themselves over the opening up of retail trade.
"Most chief ministers support FDI in retail. There are particular reservations of the Left parties, who continue to have ideological blinkers. The principal opposition also has a partisan agenda, it changes sides when it suits them," Sharma said.