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    Walmart closer to India as FDI hurdle set to go

    New Delhi: Consumers will soon have more options to choose from as the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) on Friday agreed to open up the retail sector. The CoS has recommended a 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail formats.

    This will open up doors for retail giants like Walmart, Carrefour and Metro AG who've been eyeing the Indian market for some time.

    The panel has proposed a minimum investment of $100 million. The cabinet will now take a final decision.

    The CoS also recommended that FDI should be allowed only 36 large cities which have population of over 1 million.

    There was, however, no official confirmation on recommendations of the CoS.

    The CoS meeting, attended by 10 secretaries, deliberated on the issue for nearly three hours. It is understood to have rejected a proposal that stores with FDI should be asked to sell at least 30 per cent of their goods to small retailers.

    A few secretaries favoured opening the sector for FDI up to 49 per cent only, while the majority favoured 51 per cent.

    The CoS recommendations came after about a year of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) floated the idea of opening the sector for FDI.

    While the CoS has given its recommendations, the Union Cabinet would have to vet it before FDI could be allowed into the sector.

    India has already allowed FDI of up to 51 per cent in the single brand retail and 100 per cent in cash and carry format of the business.

    India's largest retailer Kishore Biyani has welcomed the move saying huge investment needed in the retail sector.

    (With additional information from PTI)