It will only result in large-scale unemployment: Javadekar

Terming the UPA government’s decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail as an “anti-people” measure done at the behest of “foreign pressure,” the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday demanded its withdrawal immediately.

“To say that the big foreign retail chains will come to India through FDI to change the face of the farmer is all bogus. Instead it will only result in large-scale unemployment and farmers will not be benefited as the foreign firms come not for charity, but for profit,” BJP national spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told a press conference here.

The government’s argument there would be back-end infrastructure development if foreign retail supply chains came to India was not true, he said. Despite allowing FDI in back-end infrastructure for agriculture about 10 years ago with an expectation of attracting investments to the tune of $40 billion, not even $40 million had come in so far, he claimed.

He did not agree with the Centre’s statement that the States had the freedom to decide on whether to allow FDI, as the country was considered as a single unit for allowing FDI as per the investments’ treaty signed by India with 82 countries. Accordingly, the aggrieved foreign firms could move the courts if any of the States declined permission for their operations as per the above treaty, he said.

When he was reminded that the BJP itself supported the FDI earlier, he said: “We are not opposed to the FDI per se, but are opposed to the FDI in retail. However, the FDI in strategic and technological sectors are okay. We have to look at the FDI from each sector’s perspective. We are not blind to accept everything that comes in the package of FDI.” Mr. Javadekar also reiterated the party’s stand that the UPA should immediately withdraw the recent hike in diesel prices and cap on subsidised cooking gas cylinders to each family.

Limiting the supply of gas cylinders to six a year would lead to indirect, but sharp increase in LPG costs for households, he said.

On Coalgate, he said that though the Prime Minister announced he would introduce competitive bidding for allotment of coal blocks in 2004 itself, it had not come into practice till 2012. This is a “deliberate delay and conspiracy,” he said.

He said Mr. Singh should resign, owning responsibility for the coal scam and pave the way for an independent probe.

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