Sees motives behind the decision as it coincides with U.S. Presidential elections

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi has announced his party’s resolve to disrupt the proceedings of the coming session of Parliament till the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government withdraws its decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail.

Dr. Joshi, who is also the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said he saw motives behind the decision as it coincided with the United States presidential elections.

Quoting a report on FDI and corruption, Dr. Joshi said opening doors to foreign investment was bound to increase corruption and this was evident from the balance sheet of a U.S. retail giant that claimed it had spent $53 million to secure permit for Indian operations, he said, speaking at a meeting organised here on Saturday.

‘Attack on small traders’

The BJP would counter the attack on small traders in the form of allowing FDI in retail, Dr. Joshi said and added that the decision would entail “deep changes” in the country’s economy. “We will not allow our country to move into economic slavery dictated by a handful of U.S.-based multinationals,” he said.

The country was already facing the ill-effects of allowing FDI in seeds where multinational companies were having a say on the Rs. 1 lakh crore business. Foreign investment in retail would see the collapse of domestic retail and agriculture sectors in addition to the cascading effect it would have on the lives and livelihood of other sections.

‘For profit, not service’

Dr. Joshi pooh-poohed the claims of the Congress leadership, including those of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that FDI would enable provision of quality goods to people at cheaper costs while multinationals such as Walmart would bring technologies to the country. The MNCs were profit-driven entities and they could not be expected to enter the domestic market with service as their motto.

The government’s intentions, according to Dr. Joshi, became clear when the terminology in the agreement underwent major changes. “It was initially mentioned that 30 per cent of the produce will be purchased from domestic manufacturers. But [it was] subsequently changed as 30 per cent will be sourced from domestic entities,” he said.

Drawing parallels on the scale of operations, he said the country’s retail trade volume was pegged around $400 billion, employing seven crore directly and another 20 crore indirectly, while the turnover of Walmart alone was over $420 billion, employing about 25 lakh. “The volume indicates the scope of manoeuvring the U.S. giant could resort to,” he said.

BJP senior leader Bandaru Dattatreya presided over the meeting.

Opening the doors to foreign investment bound to increase corruption, says Joshi

“We will not allow India to move into economic slavery dictated by U.S.-based MNCs”

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