India Stocks Plunge Over Reported Delay to Retail Plan

Posted December 5th, 2011 at 12:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Stocks prices for Indian retailers took a plunge amid reports the country’s ruling Congress party will delay plans to open the country’s retail sector to foreign investors.

Shares in local retailers fell upwards of 10 percent in Monday’s trading as the government sought to clarify its policy on foreign direct investment.

A top leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had informed him that the government will suspend the policy. A political ally of the government, Trinamool Congress, had earlier said the policy has been put on hold until a consensus is reached on the issue.

The government has neither confirmed nor denied the reported suspension. But industry leaders say failure to pass the legislation will raise questions about the current administration’s effectiveness.

Industry leaders share the government’s view that modernizing India’s retail sector will benefit farmers, consumers and create millions of jobs.

But those opposing the measure say foreign retail chains, such as Walmart, will threaten the survival of millions of small shopkeepers in the country.