Draft cabinet note on FDI in multi-brand retail circulated

The decision on multi-brand has been delayed, as there were concerns over its impact on the neighbourhood kirana shops, which account for over 90% of $590 billion retail trade. These concerns have been voiced by several political parties and traders’ unions

New Delhi: The industry ministry has circulated a draft Cabinet note for allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, a move which will allay industry's concern over policy paralysis, reports PTI.

The draft note circulated for inter-ministerial consultations is in line with the recommendations of the high level committee of secretaries, headed by Cabinet secretary Ajit Kumar Seth.

“The note has put in detail comments similar to those made by the Committee of Secretaries (CoS)... All the concerned departments will send their comments within two weeks,” an official in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said. The note was circulated by DIPP last week.

He said that decision on hiking the cap of foreign direct investment in single-brand retail is also expected soon. At present, the country allows 51% FDI in single brand retail, 100% in cash and carry (wholesale) business, but bars it in multi-brand retail.

The decision on multi-brand has been delayed, as there were concerns over its impact on the neighbourhood kirana shops, which account for over 90% of $590 billion retail trade. These concerns have been voiced by several political parties and traders’ unions.

But industry leaders, including Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani and Wipro’s Azim Premji have expressed their worries on the “policy paralysis” which has affected decision-making in the government, following several scams hitting it.

The CoS had recommended allowing 51% FDI in the politically-sensitive sector with several riders. These included a minimum foreign investment of $100 million.

It also recommended that at least 50% of the investment and jobs should go to rural areas and the entities with FDI should source at least 30% of their requirements from the MSME sector.

Several global retailers like Wal-Mart are waiting in the wings for a full-scale entry into India’s multi-brand retail segment.

Another condition suggested by the CoS was that half of the minimum overseas investment should be in developing back-end infrastructure like warehousing and cold storage.

Besides, the global chains should be allowed only in 36 large cities which have population of over one million.

However, the retailers should be allowed to open shop even within 10 km radius of these cities, as there are space constraints in the big townships.

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Maruti raises prices of diesel cars by up to Rs10,000

The company has hiked the price of the diesel variants Ritz by Rs2,000, while that of Swift, SX4 and DZiRE have been raised by Rs10,000 each. In a mail to its dealers, the company cited reasons of higher input costs and unfavourable yen appreciation

New Delhi: The country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) has hiked prices of its diesel cars by up to Rs10,000 with effect from today on account of higher input costs and appreciation of Japanese yen, reports PTI.

The company has sent mails to its dealers across the country informing about a price hike on diesel versions of its compact cars Ritz and Swift and sedans DZiRE and SX4 between Rs2,000 and Rs10,000, sources said.

When contacted a company official confirmed the development.

“MSI has raised prices of all its diesel cars with effect from today. In its mail to dealers, the company cited reasons of higher input costs and unfavourable yen appreciation,” a source said.

The strengthening of yen has increased the cost of import of components from Japan.

The company has hiked the price of the diesel variants Ritz by Rs2,000, while that of Swift, SX4 and DZiRE have been raised by Rs10,000 each.

Before this hike, the diesel version of the Ritz was priced between Rs4.93 lakh and Rs5.29 lakh. Swift is priced at Rs5.17 lakh-Rs6.38 lakh range.

While the DZiRE is priced at Rs5.86 lakh-Rs7.20 lakh, SX4 is available between Rs7.79 lakh and Rs9.01 lakh.

All the above prices are for ex-showroom, Delhi.

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Ex-CAG official sticks to his stand on 2G loss before JPC

Former top Comptroller and Auditor General official RP Singh today appeared before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) looking into the second generation (2G) spectrum scam and is reported to have stuck to his stand that the presumptive loss in the radiowave allocation was only Rs2,645 crore

New Delhi: Former top Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) official RP Singh today appeared before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) looking into the second generation (2G) spectrum scam and is understood to have stuck to his stand that the presumptive loss in the radiowave allocation was only Rs2,645 crore, reports PTI.

CAG’s ex-director general (audit), Mr Singh, who was cross-examined by members of the JPC, is also learnt to have maintained that revenue optimisation was not an ‘audit objective’ and it was added as one of the objectives later.

According to a UPA leader, who is a JPC member, Mr Singh told the committee that the loss could not be quantified since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) did not take a decision on auction of spectrum and the Union Cabinet also decided on the same lines.

The opposition maintains that it was Mr Singh who had earlier explained to the Public Accounts Committee how the figure of Rs1.76 lakh crore loss was arrived at by the CAG.

These parties have sought to know whether Mr Singh was right in his earlier stand or on his revised position.

Asked whether he stuck to his figure of Rs2,645 crore loss in 2G spectrum allocation, Mr Singh told reporters, “I stuck to my point.”

BJP and other opposition parties are not convinced with Mr Singh’s position on the loss to the exchequer in the 2G spectrum scam.

Mr Singh, who was also summoned by PAC during its last meeting, was prevented from presenting his case when the Congress members demanded that CAG Vinod Rai should recuse himself as the former director general (audit) may not be able to express himself freely in front of his former boss.

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COMMENTS

Rajan Alexander

5 years ago

More and more a BJP conspiracy to defame the UPA government is coming clear.

a. A lead author's written over by the Vineet Rai-Rekha Gupta duo; he is not given a copy of the report carrying his name as the lead author but asked to sign in the last page of the report!

b. The lead author wants to incorporate the views of DoT but denied permission, reasons not elaborated.

c. The reason why spectrum was not auctioned as a policy was market penetration as in the case of the NDA tenure. So opportunity cost is a theoretical figure assuming if the policy was different and spectrum was auctioned. That this was raised as India's greatest scam is laughable.

While common people got conned on the so called 2G Spectrum scan, they were not intelligent enough to ask what will happen to their per minute mobile costs if spectrum was indeed auction and for the value - Rs 144,000 crores which CAG estimates. This would have made mobiles a luxury service for the super rich with per call per minute at least Rs 16. Without paying spectrum charges, companies like Reliance is running in the red, trying to recoup their investment. Imagine if they had to recoup spectrum costs.

India has one of the cheapest mobile rates in the world and those of us who travel abroad knows this too well. Instead of celebrating cheap rates, we fall for a conspiracy to call it a scam!

It is another matter whether Raja gave more spectrum to companies than they were entitled to; whether companies were favoured in allotment; whether ineligible companies got allotment - all procedural questions.

Auditors are suppose to be watchdogs but they act like pets - we have Arthur Anderson in case of Enron; Price Water Cooper in Satyam and the latest being Deloitte Touche colluding with clients to commit public fraud. This is first time when two individuals cooked their reports to favour the interests of the opposition BJP.



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