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Indian parliament OKs government plan to open massive retail sector to foreign companies

India's parliament has approved the government's plans to open up the country's massive retail sector to international big-box companies such as Wal-Mart.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government won the vote in the upper house of parliament on Friday, two days after it had won a similar approval in the powerful lower house.

A loss would have been a major embarrassment for the government, but would not have stopped the measure from being implemented after the Cabinet in September decided to allow foreign companies to own stakes of 51 percent in supermarkets and other big retailers for the first time.