Amid suggestions for opening up of multi-brand retail for foreign investments, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said discussions were on to further liberalise the FDI policy. “Discussions are underway to further liberalise the FDI (foreign direct investment) policy,” he said at the annual conference of chief commissioners and directors general of Central Board of Excise and Customs ( CBEC )) at New Delhi.
He said with an aim to make the FDI policy user friendly, all prior regulations and guidelines have been consolidated into an comprehensive document. The document is reviewed every six months.
Mukherjee’s statement comes within weeks of an Inter-ministerial Group (IMG) headed by Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu recommending to the government opening up the multi-brand retail sector for FDI to tame inflation.
The IMG constituted in February by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had favoured opening of the sector in a calibrated manner.
Last July, the industry department had initiated discussions on opening the sector for FDI.
The share of organised retail in the total retail trade happens to be just over 4 per cent in India. The unorganised retail sector employs about 33 million people.