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Updated: December 7, 2012 01:40 IST

It’s a lame duck government: Jaitley

Gargi Parsai
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Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

“When the government is unable to touch the 272 figure in LS on FDI vote, a lot is questionable”

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was a “lame duck” government as it could not touch the 272 (threshold) figure in the Lok Sabha in the vote against the policy on FDI in multi-brand retail.

Appealing to the government to withdraw the policy, he urged Parliamentarians to vote against it.

Participating in the discussion on the Opposition motion against FDI in the Rajya Sabha, he said: “You are a lame duck government. When the government is not able to touch the 272 figure in the Lok Sabha, then a lot is questionable. To reach this number, one has to take assistance from many and reach to some understandings. You are dependent on support which is very costly and every day you have to pay a price for that support. This is a worrying situation.”

Even allies disagree

Mr. Jaitley said there were lot of parties, some supporting UPA from outside and even its own allies such as the Nationalist Congress Party and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam which are openly opposed to FDI in retail but because of political compulsions they are backing the government.

Criticising the retail FDI policy, he asked if the definition of economic reforms would now be dictated by Western countries. “Every change is not reform; some of that can be counter-reform,” he said.

Observing that FDI will not benefit local shops, he said: “Domestic retails source their product domestically whereas international retails source their products internationally where the products are the cheapest. International retailers reduce employment, not add to it.”

Nation of traders

Mr. Jaitley said pushing the policy without manufacturing sector reforms involving cheaper loans, low-cost utilities, power availability and proper infrastructure and trade facilitation would have a two-fold effect: “First, we will have retail stores owned by Europeans and Americans selling Chinese products and India would be a nation of sales boys and girls. Secondly, with India’s manufacturing in doldrums, the danger of India being a nation of traders would stare us in the face. All stores will be of global companies and we will become consumers of international products.”

Countering the arguments, put forth by Law Minister Ashwini Kumar, Mr. Jaitley said retail FDI would lead to mass-scale loss and displacement of jobs.

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I find Jaitley's comment that the UPA is dependent on other parties is unwarranted. Because they themselves are seeking support of the Left who do not at all subscribe to the BJP policies. Similarly, their numbers require help from other parties now and will be so even after the next election. And no one can be sure if some of those parties that support them now will continue to do so after the next election. The matter under discussion lacked any logic or substance in the arguments of all the speakers who spoke for the motion. Instead they should have given concrete suggestions or amendments to make the measure work o nthe interest of the country. It is not yet clear whether they are against FDI or against retail trade with the expertise whether local or foreign to achieve the ends of the reform. The bJP should from now till the next elections change their strategy to analyse any Govt move and criticise what is wrong and suggest by debate what should be done.

from:  S.N.Iyer
Posted on: Dec 7, 2012 at 16:49 IST

BJP has boiled down to opposition literally, National Interest has taken a backstage, Even the Parliamentary debate by Sushma Swaraj lacks factual details or statistical anlysis that should form the basis of a discussion of such a serious issue. The merits and demerits of FDI, the current fiscal situation, the future and the direction of Indian economy, the deficit, the slowing growth and impending rating reevaluation by internaional agencies.. are issues that should have been given serious thought instead it turned out to be a political vendeta and attack on UPA and its personalities. The farcical behavior of Member of Parliament is matter of shame and reflects poorly on our law makers.
Infact the current deal on FDI is a improoved version from the one BJP had on it's agenda and India is a much more deeveloped and confident country than before.Indian business has shown their mojo in competing with international counterparts and Indian manufacturing base can handle the challenge.

from:  Rajan Panda
Posted on: Dec 7, 2012 at 10:19 IST

FDI in retail would force & convert millions of Small family run Shop
keepers into Store Boy, girls, loaders and pallet cart pushers in
super markets and earn wages and be slave for life. FDI in retails
should be open at small scale investments with maximum Cap so that
many investor can come and compete and offer better services &
prices. Current policy seems dictated by Likes of Wallmart and would
affect Indian Retail and manufacturing negatively.

from:  Atma Gandhi
Posted on: Dec 7, 2012 at 08:44 IST

The opposition has lost the vote which it thought would help it to bring the government down at least on moral grounds.Having lost the battle fair and square,now indulging in name calling and branding the government a "lame duck" a one and other epithets only shows his churlishness and childish attitude at not being able to digest defeat.How low can he get after hitting NADIR!

from:  Raj Kumar
Posted on: Dec 7, 2012 at 08:30 IST

Mr. Jaitly is right. UPA is using other parties to support the bill and such parties are
supporting although they themselves are not sure of what to do. It is unfortunate that
Congress Party has no legs to stand on their own. This comment has nothing to do
whether FDI in retail is good for the country or not.

from:  vittal
Posted on: Dec 7, 2012 at 07:19 IST

Jaitley's logic needs public scrutiny!Majority in any democratic
forum is calculated on the basis of(n/2 +1)of members present
only!On 4th December,2012,when opposition's motion to withdraw 51%
FDI in retail trade was asked to be scrapped, 471 members took part
in the voting in Lok Sabha! Out of a total of 544,29 were absentand
43 abstained.Hence,the majority mark was 251! 218 voted in favor of
the motion while 253 voted against it!Instead of regretting for not
getting 33 votes, in addition,Jaitley has the cheek to call the
Govt. which defeated his party's motion as lame duck Govt.

from:  Forum of Free Thinkers
Posted on: Dec 7, 2012 at 07:17 IST

It's high time the BJP stops giving justifications for each of their
defeats in the parliament and allow it to function without
disruptions. I don't think they deserve the main opposition party
status and Mr. Jaitly and Mrs. Swaraj should let go of their penchant
for painting every defeat of their as a defeat of the government.

The best thing for the country will be for the opposition to move away
from a self perceived ideological moorings in the nature of opposition
to FDI, CAG etc and focus on concrete topics of interest like Health
and Education. The state of our health and education system is the one
that needs at most attention.

from:  Jacob
Posted on: Dec 7, 2012 at 05:40 IST

Arun Jaitely is a good orator but not a good politician. He should first explain why BJP supported FDI earlier and opposing it now and what is the greatest change in Indian masses during this period except increase in BPL population. Increase in sales boys and girls due to FDI in retail, Yes - offers addl. employment to ordinary folks instead of living on govt. doles. Opposition does not mean opposing everything govt. proposes.

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Dec 7, 2012 at 02:42 IST
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