BJP on Wednesday alleged that the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail was taken under pressure from the U.S., U.K. and France and challenged the government to face the adjournment motion if it is confident of having majority support.
“When Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee went to Washington in June, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he wants to see progress in reforms in banking, insurance and multi-brand retail. Similarly, Britain had said it wants India to open up the multi-brand retail sector,” BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said at a press conference.
He added that France had also said recently that India is yet to open its doors to multi-brand retail.
“These reforms are dangerous. There is no truth in what the government is saying.... No study has been done to see how many jobs will be created and this policy is being brought only under international pressure,” Mr. Joshi said.
He insisted that the government is wrong when it claims 40-50 Lakh jobs will be created if Walmart, Metro, Carrefour and Tesco come to India.
“90 per cent of their business is in foodgrains in which the present turnover here is $4 billion and there are 1.10 Lakh jobs. The turnover should be $180 billion to create 40-50 Lakh jobs,” Mr. Joshi said.
BJP sought to know why the government was hesitant in accepting the adjournment motions to discuss the FDI issue.
“We want a debate on the issue and want to tell the government that the majority is against FDI in multi-brand retail. If government is confident then it should accept the adjournment motion and have debate and voting,” Mr. Joshi said.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj spoke on similar lines, saying the BJP wanted to have a discussion in Parliament on the adjournment motion on FDI in retail but the government is shying away from it.
“Why is the government running away from a discussion and vote in the House? This means the government does not have the majority support in the Parliament on this decision. Why is the government running away from a discussion followed by a vote in the House?” Ms. Swaraj said on Twitter.
The principal opposition maintained that the government is wrong when it states there will be no impact on the small traders. Joshi cited an earlier Standing Committee of Commerce report which said in some cities up to 25 per cent businessmen from this sector would be affected.
“World over this has had an impact. Even in the U.S. The government says food inflation will be taken care of but where there are Walmarts, Carrefour, Tesco, there also there is food inflation. Even in China which they praise so much has food inflation. The arguments made by the government are baseless and wrong,” Mr. Joshi said.
With the Parliament in a limbo, the principal opposition will take this fight to the streets by lending support to the all-India bandh called by traders.
He alleged that these multi-brand retail stores engage in predatory prices and unfair trade practices which harm the consumers and the farmers.
The opposition said the government had not yet got back to it after Tuesday’s all-party meeting.
“Our stand is clear: either rollback or rollout yourself. I do not see any middle path or way out... There will be no change in the wording of our adjournment motion,” Mr. Joshi said.