New Delhi: The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government has defended its decision to open up the retail sector to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) even though the Opposition parties along with the Trinamool Congress, a key constituent of the Government, have been vociferous in their protests against the move.
Parliament was stalled on Friday too as several MPs protested against allowing FDI in retail in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, which were adjourned till Monday following the furore.
Government sources have ruled out a rollback of the Union Cabinet decision allowing 50 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail.
But the Opposition is not giving the Government an easy time with the Left Front pressing for an adjournment motion on FDI in retail policy on Monday. The BJP, too, has warned of protests inside and outside Parliament.
The Government on Friday made fresh attempts to convince the naysayers with Commerce Minister Anand Sharma arguing that the move will create jobs, benefit farmers and that small retailers will be protected.
"Thirty per cent of entire sourcing will be from small and medium enterprises. This will create jobs in manufacturing and agriculture sector, 5 to 6 million jobs will be created over a period of 3 years," claimed Sharma.
Senior BJP MP Murli Mahohar Joshi alleged that the Cabinet decision will not help Indian economy and hurt the small retailers and farmers.
"This is a very lopsided and anti-people decision. We are against it. Walmart is not the solution to help are farmers and small scale producers. We need to work that out ourselves. BJP will oppose this move and if required we will bring adjournment motion also against it. If the retail sector is going to increase from Rs 20 billion to Rs 200 billion then why do we want to lose it to Walmart and others. A study shows that Walmart and all such stores don't provide stuff at cheaper rates. Those who work in retail sector will lose their jobs," said Joshi.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitaram Yechury pointed out that even some UPA constituents were not in favour of allowing FDI in retail.
"Two UPA allies supported our protest against FDI in the House today. We continue to oppose FDI in retail, it will badly affect agriculture. When Parliament is in session, why was this decision taken? Today when we stood up to oppose the Government move, two allies of UPA-2 stood up with us to protest. We wonder how then when Cabinet works through collective consent, this decision was taken," said Yechury.