New Delhi(PTI): Facing criticism on retail FDI issue, the government today sought to downplay the continuation of the policy permitting 51% FDI in the multi-brand retail sector saying the BJP's stand remains the same on the matter.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman : File Photo
On May 12, the government released its latest consolidated FDI policy which has retained previous UPA regime's decision allowing foreign retailers to open multi-brand stores with 51% ownership.
"I have not taken a new policy, I have not taken a new stand other than what my party had won its election on," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters here.
"There has not been any change in the policy on FDI in multi-brand retail... BJP won the election based on what it had said in its (elelction) manifesto," she said.
The BJP in its general election manifesto last year had opposed foreign investment in multi-brand retail sector.
The minister said that there has been no change in FDI policy on multi-brand retail which was brought by previous UPA government through an executive order.
"We have not even gone back to look at it or anything of that kind is just what is put into the compendium," she said.
She was replying to a question on the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion's new circular which allows 51% foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.
The latest edition of the annual FDI document also incorporates all policy changes effected over the past one year in sectors like defence, insurance and railways.
The multi-brand retail was opened up for foreign direct investment, with a 51% cap, in September 2012, when the Congress-led UPA government was in power.
The BJP-led NDA government, which came to power in May last year, has not made any changes in this policy.
"Let's just be absolutely clear on that. It is a compendium ... If there has to be a one point reference compendium somewhere to know what is the FDI in any of these segments or ministries or departments, you need a document which speaks about it all in one place. And that is exactly what we have done from the Ministry to compile it," she said.
The Delhi government has said that it will not allow entry of foreign direct investment in the capital's retail sector, saying that it will be detrimental to the interests of traders in the city.
Traders body CAIT has also criticised the central government for retaining the retail FDI policy.