Economy

Traders oppose delinking of single brand from multi-brand retail

Arun S. New Delhi | Updated on November 13, 2017 Published on December 11, 2011

traders

Ahead of their national governing council meeting on December 12-13 in Nagpur, leaders of domestic traders associations have opposed the Government's proposed move to delink Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in single brand retail from the controversial multi-brand sector.

Declining to be a part of the six-member joint committee proposed by the Government on retail, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) also said its research arm will bring out a white paper early next month on the impact of FDI in retail.

The white paper will also have details on how some wholesale cash and carry players with FDI are flouting licence norms under the garb of wholesale by selling goods directly to people who are ineligible to make such purchases as per the terms of their licences, CAIT Secretary General, Mr Praveen Khandelwal, told Business Line. He added that in some cases the wholesale players with FDI are even selling directly to consumers for personal consumption.

Claiming that the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, had not made any distinction between FDI in single brand retail while making his statement on the suspension of the Government's decision to permit 51 per cent FDI in retail trade, Mr Khandelwal said the traders expect the Government to protect the sanctity of the Finance Minister's statement. “We maintain our opposition to FDI in single brand and multi-brand retail,” Mr Khandelwal said.

Though the traders will not form part of the Government's proposed joint committee, if the Government takes any fresh initiative to hold talks with all the stakeholders in the retail trade, they will consider joining the discussions, he said. The Nagpur meeting will also take stock of the situation so far and discuss the future course of action on retail trade.

The CAIT Research and Trade Development Society (CAIT's research wing) is also undertaking a study on how FDI in retail has not generated employment as expected and how they are flouting labour laws including by making their workers overtime without any additional benefits.

CAIT's white paper will also have letters sent by traders to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Investment Promotion Board on how wholesale cash and carry players are violating norms. Mr Khandelwal added that, “We will back our arguments with our research on FDI in retail in other countries as well and show why it is not good for India.”

On December 2, the talks between the domestic traders and the Centre on allowing FDI in retail had ended in a deadlock. The Centre had then proposed the formation of a six-member Joint Group with equal representation from the Government and the traders associations to hold further parleys on the issue.

This week, top Government sources had said that the Centre may formally notify the Cabinet decision on permitting 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail as there is no significant opposition targeting FDI in single-brand. The existing FDI cap on FDI in single-brand retail is 51 per cent.

>arun.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 11, 2011
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