RSS opposes government's FDI in single-brand retail, Air India move

PTI file image used for representational purpose only

Definition of "medical devices" amended in the FDI Policy.

It has now been chose to do away with this restriction and allow foreign airlines to invest up to 49 per cent under the automatic approval route in Air India as well, the government said in a statement.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister had given its approval to a number of amendments in the FDI Policy.

The relaxation of FDI policy is actually aimed at creating a more investor-friendly climate for foreign companies and in turn boost domestic economic growth and create jobs, experts say.

Swadeshi Jagran Manch has said that easing the norms for FDI in SBRT would go against the best interest of the country. FIIs/FPIs will also be allowed to invest in Power Exchanges through primary market.

"Although India's organized retail sector is in a nascent stage, it has today become a potential target for FDI from across the world", Khaitan said. It is therefore, eligible for 100 per cent FDI under the automatic route.

As some critics have pointed out, the automatic approval of 100% FDI in single-brand retail comes with new caveats to replace existing ones and which will not be easy to meet for most companies. Foreign airlines are already allowed to own up to 49% of private airlines in India but were restricted from investing in the state-run carrier, which has been a drain on the country's coffers for years. The amendment is likely to benefit companies such as Swedish furniture maker Ikea, which is planning to set up stores across the country.

Since taking office in May 2014, Mr. Modi has eased foreign-investment rules. However, the government has yet to liberalise norms for multi-brand retail to enable large global retail chains to invest and bring latest technologies to India.

CITU general secretary Tapan Sen said the airline's privatisation would give foreign entities control over the national carrier, which is a public sector company with a huge asset base and a high-revenue earning worldwide service network.

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