The government won’t include personal care products under the policy governing foreign direct investment (FDI) in food retail, a stand that will disappoint the industry which has been asking for changes along those lines. “The policy is only for food products manufactured in India,” a senior official in the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion told ET. “There is no provision for personal care or non-food items.”
This runs counter to what Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had told ET earlier. She had said the government will add “the sweetener” of allowing personal care products in the policy. Retailers had lobbied for the relaxation as selling food alone wouldn’t make business sense and they needed to be allowed to offer more to shoppers. “The industry said that you have allowed FDI only for food, which has very low margins and if it is expensive nobody will buy,” Badal had said. “It is only when you allow other things with food the money comes in.” Echoing the view, Walmart India Chief Executive Krish Iyer had told ET earlier this year that food items along with home and personal care products would make the model more viable.