Pranab, Sharma defend retail FDI decision

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today defended the government's decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, saying it is a must for growth and will help farmers and consumers.

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been reiterating that the decision is final, its implementation has already been held in abeyance amid relentless opposition.

Even if implemented, states are separately free to prevent FDI in retail; leaving commentators asking why the opposition is still continuing to disrupt Parliament.

Speaking at a function organised by the Hindustan Times in New Delhi, the finance minister said that FDI in retail will significantly reduce post-harvest losses.

Mukehrjee said that narrow political gain is coming in way of retail FDI. He expressed the hope that government will be able to persuade those who are against it.

"You can exercise your authority within your territorial limit, but don't stand in the way of the others who want to implement it. Therefore, let there be an enabling provision and this is an enabling provision," Mukherjee said.