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September 19, 2012

WRC 2012: Bharti chief expects India retail reform to “stick”

The MD of Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises, Wal-Mart Stores' retail partner in the country, expects the government to succeed with plans to allow more overseas investment in the sector.

By Dean Best

The MD of Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises, Wal-Mart Stores’ retail partner in the country, expects the government to succeed with plans to allow more overseas investment in the sector.

Rajan Bharti Mittal said today (19 September) he expects the Indian government’s plan to allow foreign retailers to own 51% in multi-brand outlets to “stick” despite some political opposition.

The reform would allow the likes of Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco, which have wholesale and cash-and-carry operations in India, to own stakes in consumer-facing stores.

However, there has been some fierce political opposition to the plans, which opponents have dubbed “anti-people” and claimed would make “slaves” of Indian farmers.

Nevertheless, speaking at the World Retail Congress in London today (19 September), Mr Bharti Mittal said he believed the reforms would be implemented. “It will stick. All I can say is if it doesn’t stick, the government may not have a right to govern. This is here to stay.”

Mr Bharti Mittal, who is also chairman of Bharti Walmart, its wholesale venture with the US retail giant, told just-food he does not expect the resignation of the Trinamool Congress ministers from India’s government would derail the reform.

He added: “It’s only good news. We need foreign direct investment, we need innovation, we need technology.”

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