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Govt looking at options for FDI in retail

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The Minister for Commerce and industry, Mr Kamal Nath, with the Wal-Mart International Chief Executive Officer, Mr John B. Menzer, in the Capital on Thursday. - Kamal Narang
The Minister for Commerce and industry, Mr Kamal Nath, with the Wal-Mart International Chief Executive Officer, Mr John B. Menzer, in the Capital on Thursday. - Kamal Narang

Our Bureau

New Delhi, May 12

THE Government on Thursday said it was considering several options in a bid to modernise the retail sector, including opening it up to foreign direct investment, provided the existing "set-up" is not displaced.

Speaking to reporters after an hour-long meeting with the Wal-Mart International President and CEO, Mr John B. Menzer, the Commerce and Industry Minister Mr Kamal Nath, said, "We will examine all possibilities to modernise retail but no new set-up should displace the existing one. We want to ensure security of the existing mom and pop stores. Our endeavour is to increase employment generation and get better technology into India."

The Minister said he has held meetings with some of the top retailers of the world, including Kraft Food, Tesco and now Wal-Mart in a bid to examine various possibilities of modernising retail. "This is not a mere foreign direct investment (FDI) issue for us, it may be for them (Wal-Mart, Tesco)."

When asked whether his Ministry had finalised a proposal to allow FDI in retail trade in India, he replied in the negative, repeating that the Government was examining several possibilities. Mr Nath said that the Indian retail sector was growing at 20 per cent per annum.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 13, 2005)
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