World's fourth-largest retailer Tesco is willing to scale up its investments in India to build supply chain for consumer items, particularly from the farm sector, without getting bogged down by delays in the opening of FDI in multi-brand retail by the UPA government.
"Yes, there are enough opportunities to scale up investment," Tesco Chief Executive Terry Leahy told PTI.
Asked whether the UK-based retail chain would go ahead with investments in India, without waiting for the opening up of foreign direct investment in retail, Leahy said, "Yes, yes." However, Leahy did not give the investment details.
On his meeting with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Leahy said, "We have been asked to go for upstream investment."
Both Leahy and Walmart CEO Mike Duke met Sharma here yesterday on issues pertaining to the retail sector.
At present, 51 per cent FDI is allowed in single brand retail and none in the multi-brand retail. However, 100 per cent FDI is allowed in the cash and carry or wholesale segment.
Global majors including Walmart, Metro and Carrefour are already operating their wholesale business in the country.
The government is looking at the possibility of opening up the multi-brand retail for FDI.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) had floated discussion papers on opening FDI in multi-brand retail, and increasing foreign investments in the defence production.
In the paper, the government has suggested that FDI in multi-brand retail should be contingent on the investors pumping in at least half of the money into building the back-end supply chain.
The DIPP is studying the report submitted by an expert committee, which has evaluated the stakeholders comments on the issue.
The demand for opening up the multi-brand sector has been intensifying, especially in the wake of wide gap between the wholesale and retail prices.
Also, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has favoured opening up of the multi-brand retail sector to foreign investors, saying it will benefit farmers and also help in containing food inflation.
Food inflation inched up marginally to 15.57 per cent for the period ended January 15 from 15.52 per cent for the week ended January 8, on account of escalating vegetable prices, particularly onions that have been selling considerably lower in the wholesale market.