Friday, December 7, 2012

Discussed FDI issue with 14 CMs: Anand Sharma

NEW DELHI, December 7, 2012 PTI

Opposition NDA and estranged UPA ally Trinamool Congress on Friday criticised the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, saying government has surrendered to crony capitalism and feared that the policy will spell doom for farmers and small traders.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari dispensed with Question Hour "as a rarest of rare cases" to resume discussion on the motion moved by V Maitreyan (AIADMK) rejecting the government's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.

In the FDI debate on Friday, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said that he "discussed the FDI issue with Chief Ministers of 14 States including Punjab, West Bengal and Bihar." 11 States, farmers\' organisations and consumer bodies demanded allowing FDI in multi-brand retailing, he added.

Earlier, leaders of political parties and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath requested for doing away with the Question Hour to resume discussion on the issue.

Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) said some top economists in the government were associated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the two multi-lateral agencies propagating the cause of foreign investment.

"IMF, World Bank, WTO, Asian Development Bank (ADB) run economic policy of the world," Mr Tiwari said adding the nation's future was being impacted by their policies.

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said FDI was "foreign direct intrusion" and accused Commerce Minister Anand Sharma of "deliberately" misleading the House and the country on the issue.

"FDI may be starting in only 53 cities but it will spread all over the country and traders will be finished," he said, adding, "This government has totally surrendered to crony capitalism" and the country was run to "please White House."

Shanta Kumar (BJP) said foreign investment cannot be ignored and multi-nation trade was essential. "But how FDI is allowed should be decided keeping the country's interest in mind," he said.

Balwinder Singh Bhunder (SAD) said FDI is not a charitable trust and will spell doom for the farmers. FDI will not save the country but mortgage the nation. "Neither farmers nor traders will be saved... desh ko bachao, FDI to bhagao (save the country by banishing FDI)," he said.

"If farmers have to be saved, inputs like seed, fertiliser and diesel have to be made cheaper," he said.

D Raja (CPI) said his party disapproved the decision on FDI in multi-brand retail and maintained that the "sense of the House is against the FDI in retail."

He said the government has completely failed to mobilise its indigenous resources, unlike China, and it was trying to create "myths" of employment generation and benefit to farmers and consumers.

Kumar Deepak Das (AGP) voiced his party's reservation on the issue as, he said, FDI in multi-brand retail would neither benefit farmers nor traders.

"We are not against economic reforms. We know the country needs more reforms, but not at the cost of the farmers, not at the cost of poor traders and not at the cost of unemployed youth," he said.

Biswajit Daimary (BPF) said India should not have any reservation on the issue as many other countries have already allowed FDI in retail.

Citing the example of the telecom sector, he said when foreign players came in the area, all were very apprehensive.

But, the end result is not bad.

Ranbir Singh Parjapati (INLD) said FDI in retail will have a telling effect on traders, who would eventually have to shut their shutters.

He also said government's claim that FDI would wipe out middlemen was not true as big retailers would only take upon themselves the role of the middlemen.

Strongly backing the FDI decision, Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) said it would help the poor people who are suffering relentlessly in the country.

"I support FDI because it will be beneficial for poor farmers," Mr Paswan said.
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