The chief executive of Walmart India said the decision to allow up to 100% foreign direct investment through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board in the marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India was “very progressive” and would help reduce wastage while encouraging the industry to produce locally within the country.
Krish Iyer, whose company has endured a bumpy ride on the road to foreign direct investment, said the FDI reform would “benefit farmers, give impetus to the food processing industry and create vast employment opportunities”.
After entering India in partnership with Bharti Enterprises, Walmart severed all ties with its local partner to focus on cash and carries. It now operates around two dozen Best Price stores across India and has plans to increase this number to 70 by 2020.
Elsewhere, the government’s proposal to create an e-market in agriculture was “very bold and forward-looking, and will positively impact India’s farmers,” Iyer said.
Recognition of the retail trade as the country’s largest service sector employer and a proposed focus to simplify the regulations for the retail sector was laudable, he added.
“The sector has made noteworthy progress over the last two decades, with a rise in disposable earnings, shift in youth employment and an attitudinal shift in consumer preferences.
“Overall this is a very good budget. Adherence to fiscal discipline, with emphasis on growth, development, increasing infrastructural and rural spending, and simplifying retail trade norms are key aspects of the budget,” said Iyer.