The government was trying to appease foreign capital by allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail sector, said former Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac.

He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Kerala Merchants’ Union in Kochi on the fallout of foreign direct investment in retail sector.

The arguments put forward by the government in support of FDI defy common sense. The government was trying to push a policy that did not have the approval of Parliament. Mass resistance needs to be organised against such moves. The government should be made to realise that it would have to pay a heavy political price if it pursued the FDI in the retail sector, he said. The Union Commerce Minister’s argument that more jobs would be created with the opening up of retail sector was baseless. In fact, the policy will eventually force a large number of shops in the retail sector to shut shop, leading to job loss. The government was lying to the country regarding FDI, Dr. Isaac said.

The government cannot enforce the proviso in FDI that the foreign retailer should purchase at least 30 per cent of the products from the domestic market. It is an unenforceable condition and no one would be able to audit the purchase details of these firms for ascertaining the source of purchase, he said.

The Kerala Chief Minister’s argument that the State government will not allow multinational retail chains to open shop in the State will not hold water.

No State government will be able to block their entry to the States as it would amount to violation of the fundamental right of freedom of trade guaranteed in the Constitution, he said.

Former Parliamentarian Sebastian Paul delivered the keynote address. S. Muralidharan, Professor, Sree Narayana College of Engineering and Technology, Kolenchery, P. Venkitarama Iyer, former State president, All Kerala Distributors Association, L.A. Joshey, former president, Kerala Merchants Union, K. Venkatesh Pai and G. Karthikeyan, secretary., Public Relations of the Union, was among those who attended the seminar.

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