Davos: India assured global CEOs that its reforms agenda is well on course and the decision to put on hold FDI in multi- brand retail is ” just a pause”, forced by coalition politics.

A firm assurance was given by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma when he met top management functionaries of global retail chains Walmart and the Metro Group on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

This is for the first time that senior management of the two retailers met any minister after Indian government suspended the controversial decision to open Foreign Direct Investment ( FDI) in multi- brand retail on November 24.

Sharma said the decision to open 51 per cent FDI in multi- brand retail ” could not be implemented because of the compulsions of coalition politics as also partisan opposition.

” It is just a pause. The decision has only been put on a temporary halt… the government is committed to take forward the reform agenda.” He said while the government has restarted consultations taking on board concerns of agrarian states, only the bona fide objections would be taken into account.

His assurance seems to have gone down well with both Walmart and Metro.

” If retail FDI happens, it would be good for the entire trade and the Indian government seems to be confident about that,” Frans W H Muller, Member of the management board of German- based Metro Group said.

Walmart Executive Vice- President ( Corporate Affairs) Leslie Dach said ” We are hopeful about the government allowing FDI in retail. India is a very big growth market for us.’

Metro to invest euro 100 mn

German wholesale giant Metro Group plans to invest over 100 million euros ( about Rs 650 crore) in India as part of strategy to spread footprint across the country. The cash and carry major that currently has nine stores at six locations in India at Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Jalandhar and Ludhiana is eyeing to have 50 stores soon. Metro, started operations in India in 2003, has over 700 stores in 30 countries.

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