Indo-US CEO Forum asked for FDI in retail: Govt

New Delhi, November 30: Amidst a raging controversy over FDI in multi-brand retail, government on Wednesday said it received a recommendation from the Indo-US CEO Forum to open up the sector, among other areas, for foreign investment.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia quoted the Indo-US CEO Forum as having recommended enhancing of “Indian foreign direct investment (FDI) policy reforms through further opening up of key sectors such as insurance, private sector banks, retail and defence to foreign investors”.

Asked whether the government would accept these recommendations, the minister said, ” … the policy is reviewed on an ongoing basis with a view to making it more investor friendly”.

After the Cabinet approved 51 per cent FDI in the multi-brand retail and removed the cap on the single brand retail on November 24, the government has come under attack not only from the Opposition but also from the UPA allies – Trinamool Congress and the DMK.

These parties have forced stalling of Parliament for the last four days demanding a roll-back of the decision, whereas the government has indicated no reversal of the policy.

The Indo-US CEO Forum was constituted in July 2005 as a major initiative for enhancing bilateral trade and investment.

It was reconstituted in November 2009 by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and comprises 12 Indian and 12 US CEOs.

Co-chaired by Tata Group head Ratan Tata and Honeywell Inc’s Chairman and CEO David Cote, the Forum last met in Washington in September this year.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahlulwalia attended the Washington meeting.