FDI option for small cities too
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The government has decided to make FDI in multi-brand retail possible even in cities with a population under one million, a move that is set to bring many smaller cities under the FDI-in-retail ambit. This came out in Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma's reply to the debate in the Lok Sabha Wednesday.
The government's FDI move was earlier envisaged to have involved the million-population cap, which would have meant only 53 cities would have qualified out of nearly 8,000 towns and cities in the country. After some states like Jammu & Kashmir and Assam, said the Commerce & Industry Minister, took it up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that they would not be able to avail themselves of the policy as no cities there have a population over that benchmark, the government decided to adopt a flexible approach allowing such states some discretion in fixing the population cap.
"The agrarian and food-producing states that do not have cities with a 10 lakh population, such as Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Uttarakhand, Manipur, et al, can change the critiera," Anand Sharma told The Indian Express. Asked whether states like Maharashtra, which have cities with one million population, could also be allowed to open such retail outlets, the Commerce & Industry Minister said, "If they write to us seeking such flexibility, it can be done. It is not such a rigid rule."
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