Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Monday asserted that the decision on allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail was suspended and not rolled back and the government would start fresh talks with stakeholders to bring it back on the table.
"I do not think there is a policy paralysis. Sentiment has been low. The government is committed to the reform agenda...there is only a suspension, there is no rollback of the decision. We will be talking once again with the stakeholders," commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said.
The issue was flagged at the minister's meeting with prominent business leaders , including JK Paper managing director (MD) Harsh Pati Singhania, Ficci president Harsh Mariwala, Bharti group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, Sunil Kant Munjal of the Hero Group and HSBC chief Naina Lal Kidwai.
The government had been forced to shelve the decision on allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail after key allies TMC and DMK joined the opposition chorus to stall the move . Sharma said that as far as his ministry is concerned the decision was a well thought-out one and was taken after intense consultations with all stakeholders, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), states and farmer associations. "The decision was not taken abruptly. Let us remain optimistic that we will be able to ensure that there is a larger support," he said.
Sharma said he had reviewed the progress of several mega projects in sectors like power. Issues like high cost of credit, depreciation in rupee and declining industrial production also came up for discussion. "Industry feels and the government also accepts that it (mega projects) should be regularly monitored so that the project approvals are put on a fast track," he said.
However, they did not disclose the name of the mega projects. On reviving industrial growth, he said the government and the industry are in regular dialogue and are discussing ways to increase the factory output. Sharma had convened the meeting to get a feedback of the problems facing industry and also dispel fears over a paralysis in the government's decision making process.
Mariwala said after the meeting that the government needs to take some short-term measures to boost industrial production. Delay in getting government approvals hold up projects and the its needs to expedite this decision making process. Mining projects and power plants have been held up as various clearances are not coming through in time.
The Member of Parliament Local Area Development Division is entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). Under the scheme, each MP has the choice to suggest to the District Collector for, works to the tune of Rs.2 Crores per annum to be taken up in his/her constituency.