Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said the government has consulted all stakeholders, including UPA allies, before opening the multi-brand retail to foreign investment. Participating in a TV programme he said the decision provides States the power to decide on opening up of such stores.

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On the response to the move, he said multinational companies will be able to set up stores in about 20 cities.He said the Prime Minister has already explained that if states have reservations, FDI in retail cannot be implemented unless states give the relevant local positions. As regards reservation of 30 per cent on sourcing of goods by companies, Ahluwalia said, the Small and medium enterprises always meant to be India specific.

On questions concerning job loss on account of opening of retail, Ahluwalia said, he replied that he does not believe that employment is the reason to do this. He said, FDI will generate more employment, besides eliminating middlemen. The main case for mordernizing trade, he said, is that it will tackle the present inefficiencies in the distribution system where farmers get a fraction of what consumers pay.

Ahulwalia made it clear that it will reduce prices for consumers while farmers will get much more than what they get now .

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