December 02, 2011

Opening retail sector good for farmers: Ahluwalia

 | Fri Dec 2, 2011 

Policemen stand inside a cash-and-carry store in Amritsar May 30, 2009. REUTERS/Munish Sharma/Files

(Reuters) - Moves to open the supermarket sector to foreign direct investors will benefit both consumers and farmers, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission said on Friday, the latest official to defend a controversial policy passed last week.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia also rebuffed worries that such a policy would lead to India's import bill increasing as supermarkets in India shopped for goods abroad, rather than buying them domestically.
Tens of thousands of small shopkeepers went on strike across India on Thursday to protest a government decision to allow foreign retail giants like Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) to enter the country's $450 billion retail market.
Critics of the policy said it would cripple domestic industry and create huge job losses.
(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh and Abhijit Neogy; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Malini Menon)

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