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FDI in retail a win-win situation, says Kaushik Basu

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West Bengal Chief Minister would understand the benefits of opening up multi-brand foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail if explained, Chief Economic Advisor said here on Saturday.

"Mamata Banerjee is intelligent, but retail FDI argument is very complex. If it is explained to her then she will understand it is a win-win situation for the people of Bengal," Basu told an interactive session at the Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

Banerjee, however, asserted she remained firmly opposed to allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.

Reacting to Basu's comments, the chief minister said, “We are completely against FDI in retail, and we will continue to do so. I do things which I decide... We do not want entry of multi-brand FDI in retail. We will not accept and this is our government's policy".

Banerjee had come to Barasat to review the law and order situation and development projects in the district.

Multi-brand was stalled after the Trinamool, UPA's key partner, along with some opposition parties opposed the move.

Later Basu said at an interactive session at the Association of Corporate Advisers and Executives, he said, with the recent developments in the political landscape, a couple of policy reforms were expected in the next three to six months.

Explaining the proposed FDI structure in retail, Basu said, that the government was in favour of marking zones of big retailers, and allowing them to operate in areas based on population count, so that they did not perpetuate unhealthy competition. Also, the new policy would force the big retailers to source raw materials from the domestic market, and also perpetuate demand, which in turn will lead to better price realisation by the farmers.

He said rupee should stabilise on the lower side of the 50-mark, as the days of the currency hovering at 47-48 level were gone. The only way India could stem depreciating rupee was by increasing exports, he said. He also said inflation was unlikely to go down in the next three months, but policy interventions should yield results by the months of September.

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