JK likely to allow FDI in multi-brand retail

Greater Kashmir / MUKEET AKMALI
Publish Date: Dec 11 2012 12:00PM

Srinagar, Dec 10: The Jammu and Kashmir government is likely to allow Foreign Direct Investment in retail in the state, after the controversial bill has been passed in both the houses of Parliament.
 “The state government is in favour of allowing FDI in retail as Chief Minister and many other cabinet ministers believe it would bring foreign investments to the state,” a highly placed source told Greater Kashmir.
 However, he added that state government would not take decision in hurry. “We will talk to all the stakeholders before taking any decision in this regard. It will be a collective decision, not the decision of government alone.”
 Pertinently, Omar Abdullah earlier had backed the Centre's move to leave the decision of allowing FDI in retail sector to the respective state governments in their states.
 "I'm glad the government has announced FDI in retail and left to states to decide . . .," Omar had  earlier said on microblogging site Twitter.
 The ruling National Conference and Congress were both in favour of FDI in retail. Pertinently, the NC which is ally of UPA government at the Centre, also voted in favour of the bill in Lok Sabha.
 After the FDI reform bill was passed in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, the decision of allowing FDI is now in the hands of state government. 
 Experts believe that FDI in retail, however, marks a clear exception and throws the spotlight on the states. “The policy decision by putting the veto power in the hands of the state governments, forces each ruling dispensation to take its stand on the issue,” they said.
 The central government had said that states which did not favour 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail were free not to implement the policy.
 Interestingly, the main opposition party at the Centre, BJP, has been vociferously opposing the FDI in retail sector terming it “anti-small traders.”
 However, the main opposition party in the state, PDP, has not clarified its position on the foreign direct investment in the state.
 Whether the State Government allows it or not but as per government of India’s recent decision on FDI in retail, Srinagar comes within the eligible zone.
 The minimum one-million population bar as per census 2011 set by central government to allow FDI in multi-brand retail in any city makes Srinagar city eligible to get foreign supermarkets.
 According to the census 2011, Srinagar city has a population of 12, 69,751.