12:43 GMT03 August 2020
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    India had permitted 100% foreign investment in multi-brand retail of food products.

    India has reiterated its stand on not allowing foreign investment in multi-brand retail, with Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry stating that the country is not yet ready for foreign supermarkets, and would rather create its own ones.

    “At the moment, India can create several Walmarts of its own. The time has not yet come to allow (Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail). It only happens if they (farmers and small traders) are adequately empowered to tackle the market themselves… But today we are trying to bridge those gaps. We are still not ready to have them and face a competition where there would not be a level playing field,” he said. 

    Many foreign players want a change of policy, allowing for further investment in the multi-brand sector. Currently, India’s FDI policy permits foreign players to hold a 51% stake in an Indian company.

    Sitharaman stated that Indian supermarkets are friendlier than the faceless supermarkets she has seen in the West.

    In June this year India opened up many sectors for foreign investment including defense, broadcasting, pharma and civil aviation.

    “Now Foreign Direct Investment in most of the sectors would be under the automatic approval route, except a small negative list. With these changes, India is now the most open economy in the world for Foreign Direct Investment,” said a statement released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in June this year.

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