Kerala Not to Allow FDI in Retail: Oommen Chandy

Kerala Not to Allow FDI in Retail: Oommen Chandy
Congress-led UDF government in Kerala today said FDI would not be allowed in the retail sector in the state and that the Centre had been informed of its view that there was no change in its stand.

"FDI will not be allowed in the retail sector during the tenure of this government. There is no change in the government stand, for which we have got the permission of the central leadership," Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.

He was replying to a notice for an adjournment motion in the Assembly on the crisis in traditional industrial sectors like coir, cashew, fishing, textile, beedi and toddy tapping.

Chandy said UDF MPs from the state stood united on the issue but voted in favour of FDI in Parliament because of the party whip and had to adhere to party discipline.

The government had also informed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the party leadership of its decision, he said when asked by Opposition leader and CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan if UDF had changed its policy on the matter.

Achuthanandan brought to the notice of the House Walmart's disclosure that it had spent money for lobbying. "I want to know whether your approach to traditional sector will the same as to FDI", he said, referring to UDF MPs voting in favour of FDI in Parliament.

Chandy also gave details of steps taken by the government for developing traditional industries and said the state had asked the Centre to ban import of raw cashew nuts.

"We have already a written letter to the Centre, seeking a ban on cashew import as it adversely affect our units," he said.

On the textile front, he said the Centre had sanctioned Rs 25 crore in the first phase under the Handloom Weaving Rehabilitation programme.

The objective was to make Kannur a textile hub and "schemes are under various stages of implementation", he said.

Chandy also announced that all welfare pension arrears of workers in the sector would be cleared before December 31.

Seeking leave for the motion, P K Gurudasan (CPI-M) said traditional industries are in 'dire straits'.

After the Chief Minister's reply, Speaker G Karthikeyan disallowed the motion.
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