Ranchi, Sept. 15: Chief minister Arjun Munda chose to adopt a guarded position on the Centre’s big bang reform measures, especially on multi-brand retail, saying the state government would decide on its stand after consulting trade and business representatives even as his party rejected the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in the sector.
“We will not take a decision in a hurry. We will take a final call only after consulting all stakeholders, including local businessmen who are part of various chambers of commerce in the state,” Munda said on the sidelines of a meeting to review the performance of some government departments.
Munda, who is aware that states are free to decide whether they would allow such investment in their territory, held back opinion going by the perception that even though the Ajsu and JMM, his allies in government, had not opened their cards, the two regional parties were unlikely to be in favour of such a proposal.
The state BJP has, however, made it clear that it was opposed to opening up the multi-brand retail sector to foreign direct investment. “We strongly oppose the FDI move in the retail sector. It would lead to large-scale unemployment because as many as five crore people are dependent on retail business in some form or the other across the country,” he said in a press communiqué and appealed to the state’s business community to protest against the move.
While the Ajsu and JMM are yet to officially articulate their stand, the CPI(M) state unit, predictably, dubbed as anti-people the Manmohan Singh government’s decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, increase diesel prices and restrict the use of domestic LPG.
FJCCI office-bearers, who held a meeting today to finalise their stand on the issue at Chamber Bhawan, also said they were against the Centre’s move.
“We are totally against the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in the retail sector,” said Sharad Poddar, a senior office bearer.
Munda wrapped up his ongoing review meetings today by taking up the last set of departments, namely, revenue and land reforms, food & civil supplies, tourism and social welfare.
Among those present at the meeting held at SKIPA were revenue minister Mathura Prasad Mahto, his social welfare counterpart Vimla Pradhan, chief secretary S.K. Choudhary, development commissioner Debashish Gupta, revenue secretary N.N. Pandey, social welfare secretary Mridula Sinha and the chief minister’s principal secretary, D.K. Tiwary.