India’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government appears to be keeping the rule allowing 51% FDI in multi-brand retail. When it came to power a year ago, it stated opposition to the reform, which was enacted by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in September 2012. However, the latest consolidated FDI policy circular of 2015, prepared by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), states that 51% FDI is allowed in multi-brand retail. As state governments and union territories are free to take their own actions on this reform, the circular lists Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Daman and Diu and Nagar Haveli, as having agreed to implement FDI in multi-brand retail.

When union finance minister, Arun Jaitley, was asked to comment on the government’s stance on this reform, he equivocally stated that: "As far as multi-brand retail is concerned, the old policy is there. Our political stand was very clear. We were not in favour of that. However, the DIPP has maintained the old policy. They have only stated what is the existing position. Unless they change the old position, the existing one continues". In other words, 51% in retail is still allowed, although the NDA government maintains that it is against it. UK-based retail giant Tesco is the only player that has secured approval for a deal within the new rule, partnering with the local Tata Group.

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