Easing FDI norms ‘big blow’ to Indian small business: Congress

New Delhi, Aug 29, 2019-

The Congress on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi government of favoring foreign companies by announcing foreign direct investment (FDI) reforms to ease the 30 per cent local sourcing norm in single-brand retail trade (SBRT) whereby domestic procurement for exported goods will now qualify for inclusion under the 30 per cent sourcing rules, saying the measure is a “big blow” to small businesses.

In a statement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “By easing the FDI reforms in single-brand retail, the BJP government has given a big blow to the Indian shopkeepers and businesses.”

“Due to this decision of the government the income of over three crore shopkeepers and businessmen will be hit.”

Surjewala pointed out that the decision will directly impact the 15 crore-strong workforce in shops and the businesses.

“By doing this, the Modi government is only trying to help foreign companies by keeping the interests of Indian shopkeepers and businessmen at bay,” he said.

The Congress spokesperson alleged that the government has “fulfilled” the wishes of the “foreign companies” by allowing them to sell their products “online” two years prior to opening their physical retail outlets.

He emphasised that if the foreign companies had been allowed to first retail in the country through physical infrastructure, it would have brought in foreign investment for expenditure on land and building, which would have also helped in employment generation in the country.

“Now the government has decided to allow foreign companies to directly sell their products in the country by simply making a website,” he said.

“It is natural that the country is at loss,” he added.

The Congress leader’s remarks come a day after the Union Cabinet announced the second round of FDI reforms by easing the 30 per cent local sourcing norm in SBRT where domestic procurement for exported goods will now qualify for inclusion under the 30 per cent sourcing rules.

“With a view to provide greater flexibility and ease of operations to SBRT entities, it has been decided that all procurements made from India by the SBRT entity for that single brand shall be counted towards local sourcing, irrespective of whether the goods procured are sold in India or exported,” Railway and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“Further, the current cap of considering exports for 5 years only is proposed to be removed to give an impetus to exports”, Goyal added.  (Agency)

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