Govt ready to hold talks with traders on FDI in retail

A number of traders' associations in the city on Tuesday assured Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Union Minister Kapil Sibal that they were ready to resolve the issues relating to the implementation of FDI in retail through talks, on condition that the CM would constitute a joint committee of Value Added Tax (VAT) officials and representatives of trade associations to deliberate on the problems of traders.

Dikshit has agreed to constitute the committee and discuss with retailers the means to ensure smooth flow of trade in the city.

Sibal, who represents Chandni Chowk constituency in Lok Sabha, took the traders to Dikshit for discussion on issues relating to pay VAT.

The meeting was attended by trade union leaders of more than 100 associations in the city.

The associations, including the Confedration of All India Traders (CAIT), have been strongly opposing FDI in multi-brand retail, claiming it will harm small retailers. In an interaction with Dikshit and Sibal, the traders expressed readiness to hold talks in resolving the differences through talks.

CAIT secretary general Khandelwal said the association has made all efforts to hold discussions with the government, including the Union Commerce Minister, "but so far the government has not made any efforts to hold talks with stakeholders, including the traders".

Sibal suggested resolving the issues through talks and the traders, led by Khandelwal, accepted the offer.

Keen to take the lead in attracting FDI in multi-brand retail, the city government has already announced its intention to amend the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act to allow direct connectivity between retailers and farmers.

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