Notwithstanding the ruling of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar that the voting motion on foreign direct investment and amendments to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regulations would be debated together, the Opposition will insist in the Rajya Sabha that they be taken up separately.

The BJP and the CPI(M) have said that once the government tabled notification of amendments to the FEMA, they would represent to Chairman Hamid Ansari to allow a separate discussion and voting on the notification.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters that any move by the government to club voting in Parliament on FDI in retail and the RBI amendments to the FEMA would be “highly irregular” and contrary to law. The argument that voting on the issue in the Lok Sabha was enough and that there might not be need to take a vote in the Rajya Sabha was not valid.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said his party was against rushing through the FEMA notification in Parliament along with the main debate on the issue. “As far as the regulation notification under the FEMA is concerned, in terms of Section 48 of the FEMA, that notification has to be placed on the floor of the House within 30 days to enable the members to see it, consider, think and submit modifications and disapprove of amendments. It cannot be rushed through along with the main debate on the FDI issue. We oppose it and we will approach the Chair in this regard,” he said.

Mr. Yechury said, “The FEMA clearly says that any amendment to its regulations has to be approved by both Houses of Parliament separately. The Act also states that this approval can be done within 30 days after tabling the amendments and this can spread over two or more sessions. This is legally mandated.” Though discussion on FDI in multibrand retail and the RBI’s amendments to the FEMA could be held simultaneously, voting on the two matters had to be done separately.

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