India: Government opens up the retail market to direct foreign investment
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - India is opening the doors of its retail market to foreign supermarket chains. Today in the Raja Sabha (Upper House), the Government of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won the hotly contested economic reform, by 123 votes against 109. A very narrow majority, thanks to the support of the Samajwadi Party (SP, Socialist) and Bahujan Samj Party (BSP, pro Dalits), more "regional" and populists than the executive. Big disappointment for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ultranationalist Hindu), who had requested this vote convinced of having a victory in its pocket.
With today's victory, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hopes to boost India's economic growth and the government's credibility. It is in fact an epochal economic reform for India, for several reasons: its retail trade - one of the fastest growing markets in the world - is estimated at450 billion dollars, employs more than 40 million of people, more than 90% of internal trade is through small local retailers.