The one-page advertisement released by the Government of India and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s arguments justifying foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail in his televised address were simply hollow. I request the government to substantiate its claim that over one crore jobs will be created and consumers and farmers will be benefited with facts and figures based on the FDI experience of other countries. I am sure the data can be easily accessed. Only figures can be authentic. Statements making tall claims can be taken only with a pinch of salt.
This refers to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s remark that FDI in retail is not a threat to small retailers. The UPA’s reform initiatives in the name of growth and development are short-sighted, without adequate study or thought. Is FDI in retail a priority growth area? The policy was not even debated in Parliament. The same UPA government asserted that Parliament is supreme when it came to stalling the Lokpal Bill. Today, Parliament has become inconsequential.
If we are not to fear FDI, what should we fear? Do we have a choice? We are like students of a classroom who don’t know any way out. We say ‘yes’ to anyone who gives an answer to a difficult question. I have many fears but the thought of going through the next two years with this government is my biggest fear.
I am sure the aam aadmi would have felt amused, if not belittled, to hear Prime Minister Manmohan Singh say during his televised address on Friday that “money does not grow on trees.” Quite a profound statement, coming as it does at a time when money is actually growing and flowing in coalmines, granite quarries, on riverbeds, in oil, gas, stock markets — in fact almost everywhere. Except that the poor, wretched aam aadmi does not get to see it.