100 percent foreign equity in retail of domestic food products: Jaitley

New Delhi, Feb 29: In a major reforms push, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said 100 percent foreign equity will be allowed in the retail of domestically-processed food to give a push to the country's farm sector. In his budget proposals for the next fiscal year, presented in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said the approvals for such projects will be accorded by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). This was the main demand of Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal. "It will benefit the consumer by reducing inflation, will reduce wastage, increase availability of fresh and processed variety of food at a stable price, and improve farming technology," Badal had said this month, while writing to the Prime Minister's Office to consider her request. "I have requested the prime minister that 100 percent FDI in multi-brand retail of those food products produced and processed in India should be allowed so that big companies can create infrastructure especially for agriculture and bring the latest technology for the farm sector." India currently allows -- only on paper -- up to 51 percent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retailing. But no proposal has been approved as the current government has not yet firmed up its stand on the subject and continues to hold consultations.