Sat, 15 Sep 2012 08:35:09 GMT | By IANS

Biting the bullet: Government opens retail, aviation to foreign investment

New Delhi: Ending months of perceived policy paralysis, the UPA government Friday finally bit the bullet and pushed ahead with the boldest reforms yet by allowing 51 percent foreign investment in multi-brand retail - and opening the aviation sector - triggering expected outrage among some of its allies as well as the opposition.


Biting the bullet: Government opens retail, aviation to foreign investment (© Reuters)

The government clarified that states which did not favour 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail - which opens up India's estimated $450 billion retail market to foreign supermarkets like Walmart and Carrefour - were free to not implement the policy.

This effectively means that states ruled by Congress governments can implement the decision while states ruled by non-Congress parties or the central government's allies will not have to implement it.

The move comes at a time when the government's reputation has been battered by a host of alleged scams and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's reputation as a reformer has taken a dent, with a leading US daily portraying him as "a tragic figure" and Time magazine describing him as "an underachiever".

(Continued)
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