Hitting out at the Modi government, Congress on Thursday said that the "wrong" decision on FDI in single-brand retail trade (SBRT) will hurt 3 crore shopkeepers and bring under threat the employment of 15 crore workers.
"By giving huge relaxations in FDI rules to foreign compes in single-brand retail, the BJP government has attacked Indian shopkeepers and traders," party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
"This wrong decision will directly hurt the business and income of about 3 crore shopkeepers. On the other hand, the employment of 15 crore workers will also come under threat," he said in a statement.
"India has the second-largest number of small and medium enterprises in the world, which are the main engines of India's economy and employment. More than 15 crore employees are employed in 3 crore medium industries in the country. This decision will hit small and medium industries, rural industries and artisans," Surjewala said.
The Congress leader said that the Modi government has helped foreign compes to start online shopping portals before launching outlets, which would have created employment.
"The BJP government has changed the rule of 30 per cent local sourcing for foreign compes in single-brand retail in favour of foreign compes, and now has included procurement for export also in local sourcing. This means that it will no longer be necessary that the goods you are selling in India be purchased from here. After this, if foreign compes buy and export only 30 per cent of India's goods, then they can sell 100 per cent imported goods in India," he said.
"While on the one hand, foreign compes will be able to sell their goods in the Indian market directly through online trade, which will make our shopkeepers/traders lag behind big brands and multinational compes, on the other hand, their business will also get affected by the new rules of local sourcing," the Congress spokesperson said.
Surjewala said that rules of 30 per cent local sourcing earlier used to protect the interests of small and medium industries, rural industries and artisans.
"Foreign investment should be encouraged in those areas which can help to bring more capital investment, employment and the latest technology in the country. But this new decision will not benefit in all three areas. Make in India will fail and small and it will also reduce employment in medium enterprises," he added.
Briefing media on the decisions of the Cabinet on Wednesday, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said, "It has been decided that all procurements made from India by the SBRT entity for that single brand shall be counted towards local sourcing, irrespective of whether the goods procured are sold in India or exported. The current cap of considering exports for 5 years only is proposed to be removed, to give an impetus to exports."
( With inputs from ANI )