The Telegraph
Thursday , February 27 , 2014
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Modi tells traders to face global challenges, not run away

New Delhi, Feb 27 (Agencies & Online Bureau): Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, on Thursday asked the trading community not to run away from global challenges but to face them.

“We should not worry about the challenges from global trade,” Modi told a meeting of the Confederation of All India Traders.

The BJP has opposed the entry of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail right from the beginning, as it feels foreign supermarkets will be a threat to the millions of small traders that it counts as its support base. The party’s manifesto for the coming Lok Sabha elections is due to be released in a few weeks.

Modi did not spell out his support for the BJP’s official stand.

He also did not oppose a proposal to allow foreign investment in online shopping.

“The government should not look to curb online trade. We should not worry about these things, our children have taken IT to the world. We'll have to embrace it.”

But he promised to scrap unnecessary laws as it appears that government believes “all are thieves”.

He also batted for complete overhaul of governance, saying the fashion of running the affairs of country from Delhi should stop and states must be trusted to govern.

“I don't know if it will benefit me politically... Trading community should not run away from global challenges. They should not think they will die if businesses go online... You demand from government to help build your capacity to meet challenges...

“A small town buyer is also looking for branded products. We should not meet to decide how to escape from this but how to take it on. You should enhance your quality and filter out those whose quality is suspect,” he said.

Modi said there are too many laws in the country and the government seems to believe that all are “thieves”.

“The country cannot run like this and whether it is government or society, they should have trust in each other and law should come in force only when this trust is broken,” he said.

Modi said the trading community should focus on capacity-building and quality to take on the global challenges.

He shared the traders' concerns over “complicated and too many” laws in the country and said he felt at times that a law should be made which stipulate that a new law will come into force only when 10 old laws are scrapped.

”There is a web of law. You give us strength so that we (when in power) could repeal one law every week,” he said. He said he was for reforms of laws.

”System does not run on laws but on trust. The law enters when the system is broken. This is the basic principle from which will begin the total overhaul of the governance I am talking about,” he said.

In September 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had opened the $500-billion retail industry to foreign investors, allowing the likes of Wal-Mart Stores and TESCO Plc to own majority stakes in Indian chains for the first time, but pending approval by individual states.

But, recently, the newly-elected BJP government of Rajasthan became the second state government to roll back the policy. Fewer than half of the 28 states have agreed to implement the policy.

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