India Cabinet agrees to let in foreign retailers, again, as part of flurry of new reforms

NEW DELHI – India has agreed to open its huge market to foreign retailers such as Wal-Mart as part of a flurry of economic reforms aimed at sparking new growth in the sputtering economy.

Cabinet minister Ajit Singh confirmed the Cabinet decided Friday to allow foreign firms to own a majority stake in multi-brand retailers here for the first time. It had agreed on the same proposal last year but then withdrew that decision because of protests from coalition partners.

Since then, economic growth has fallen and business leaders and analysts blamed the government’s inability to pass major economic reforms. Singh said the Cabinet also agreed to allow foreign investment in airlines.

A government decision Thursday to reduce fuel subsidies was hailed by the business community but angered allies and opponent.