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India economy: welcome to Starbucks and Ikea

Foreign single-brand retailers like Starbucks and Ikea get Indian green light.
India news starbucks ikea 2012 1 11Enlarge
An Indian man stands next to the Adidas logo near the Adidas store in New Delhi on January 11, 2012. (Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images)

Single-brand foreign retailers like Starbucks and Ikea got the green light to open wholly owned stores in India, Bloomberg reported.

Following a move to allow individual foreign investors to play the Indian stock market, the decision is an attempt by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to take what it can when it comes to economic reforms.

In November, the government was forced to freeze a similar decision to allow multibrand retailers like Walmart to own majority (51 percent) stakes in India-based stores.

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The snafu prompted a raft of criticisms of Manmohan Singh's failure to push forward with moves to liberalize the economy, and the Congress Party's supposed mishandling of its coalition partners in the UPA.

It's not the big bang that investors have been awaiting since Singh took office, admittedly, but even two steps forward and one step back is better than the paralysis that has gripped the government since the anti-corruption stir began this summer.

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