Describing the BJP as pro-reforms, its president Rajnath Singh has defended the party’s decision to oppose Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail arguing that such a move would aggravate the unemployment problem in India.

Asserting that the BJP is open to more FDI in the Indian economy, Mr. Singh said his party is however opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail.

“We believe that retail trade is a traditional sector, which provides employment to 50 million people. They have traditional skill in retail trade. So bringing in FDI in multi-brand retail would result in unemployment problem in the country. So we have reservations related to FDI in multi-brand retail sector”, Mr. Singh told reporters on Wednesday.

“It was the NDA Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee which gave the maximum impetus to economic reform and accelerated the process”, he added.

Mr. Singh refuted the allegations that the Congress-led UPA Government can’t carry on major economic reform ahead of the next year’s general elections because the main opposition parties like the BJP are not letting the Parliament function.

“It is not the case that Parliament has not functioned in the past nine years”, he said in response to a question.

During his stay in Washington, Mr. Singh met a host of leaders of the U.S. corporate sector and listened to their concerns about India.

In his meetings, Mr. Singh raised the concerns of Indian IT industry on certain provisions, in particular those related to the H1B and L1 visas in the comprehensive immigration bill.

This needs to be addressed by the United States, as this will badly impact the Indian IT companies, he argued.

As far as the civilian nuclear liability bill is concerned, there was news that Finance Minister P. Chidambaram during his recent trip to the U.S. assured the Americans that he would have some sort of negotiations with the U.S., Mr. Singh said.

“As far as our stand is concerned, on this nuclear liability bill, whatever is being done is as per the law passed by the Indian Parliament”, Mr. Singh added.

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