Govt seeks to clear road for FDI in retail this budget session

With the process of allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail in Delhi at an advanced stage of implementation, the Delhi government is hard at work to iron out all issues posing a hurdle to this before the ongoing budget session ends.

In recent weeks, the Delhi government has held multiple meetings with the Union Agriculture Ministry to finalise the process.

To allow FDI in retail, the Delhi government must first amend the the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act in order to permit the opening of private markets, where farmers can sell their produce.

While the Delhi government has already considered amendments to the Act, senior officials said, "We also have the option to repeal the existing Act and use the Union Government's Model APMC Act instead. The process will be completed soon."

According to sources, if the amendment or repeal of the APMC Act is not completed before the ongoing budget session ends on April 2, the government would have to wait for at least another three months for the monsoon session.

"Senior leaders in the government are not keen on waiting longer particularly in an election year. We are working with the union government frequently to iron out any issues," a senior official said.

Since the central government decided to allow FDI in retail last year, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has repeatedly expressed her desire to make Delhi the first state in the country to implement the same.

"Delhi has always been a great trading city and we fully support the Government of India's decision concerning FDI. We have studied the benefits of FDI and it shows farmers and traders are doing well," Dikshit said.

However, the Opposition BJP and trader organisations in the national capital have thus far vehemently opposed FDI in retail.

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