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Corporate Dec 16, 2012

Those who oppose FDI in retail are ignorant: PM at Ficci

Emboldened by the victory over the issue of FDI in retail in Parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hit out at opponents, saying they are "ignorant" about global realities or are constrained by"outdated ideologies".

Asserting that the decisions on allowing FDI in retail and also in other sectors were based on sound economic logic, he said "these (were) politically difficult" decisions, but the government went ahead as it had the courage of conviction.

Addressing the annual general meeting of Ficci after a period of four years, Singh said the recent steps by the government were only the "beginning of a process" to revive the economy and take it back to its growth rate of 8-9 per cent.

PTI

"Our decision on Foreign Direct Investment in Multi-brand retail, civil aviation, power-trading exchanges and broadcasting must also be viewed in this larger context," he said while citing the challenges on fiscal deficit front as also the global economic environment.

He insisted that these decisions were based on larger concerns about national security and the need to insulate India from persistent global economic slowdown.

"I am afraid that those who oppose these moves are either ignorant of global realities or are constrained by out-dated ideologies. "For example, when I hear the debate on Foreign DirectInvestment in Retail, what I hear are arguments against large scale organised retail, and not against Foreign Direct Investment in retail," Singh said.

The Prime Minister's justification of FDI decisions came against the backdrop of the government's victory in Parliament last week, when the Opposition's resolution moved against FDI in retail was voted out, with the BSP and SP bailing out the UPA.

Talking about further reforms for economic reforms, Singh said the government is bringing greater clarity on the FDI policy in the pharma sector and the Railways are working on a Rail Tariff Authority. He also said that the government wouldspeed up the disinvestment process, in an effort to revive equity markets.

Revenue realisation from disinvestment is essential for the government to restrict the fiscal deficit to 5.3 per cent of the GDP in the current fiscal. The Centre's fiscal deficit touched a high of 5.9 per cent in the previous fiscal. This was clearly unsustainable," he said.

PTI

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