KERALA

VS slams hike in insurance FDI cap

To the finish: (Clockwise from left) A rally being taken out to mark the conclusion of the 13th national conference of the All India State Government Employees Federation in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday; R. Muthusundaram, new general secretary of the federation; and R.G. Karnik, chairman.

To the finish: (Clockwise from left) A rally being taken out to mark the conclusion of the 13th national conference of the All India State Government Employees Federation in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday; R. Muthusundaram, new general secretary of the federation; and R.G. Karnik, chairman.  

Special Correspondent

Says it is tantamount to inviting recession from western nations to India

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has come down heavily on the Central government decision to go in for a legislation to raise the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap in the insurance sector from 26 to 49 per cent.

“Why should we drag the private insurance companies that have collapsed in America and other capitalist countries into our country? This is tantamount to inviting the economic slowdown in the West into the country and bartering away the country’s indigenous wealth,” Mr. Achuthanandan said while inaugurating a massive rally organised here on Tuesday evening to mark conclusion of the 13th national conference of the All India State Government Employees’ Federation (AISGEF).

The Chief Minister said the introduction of the insurance Bill in Parliament showed that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had abandoned all restraint on economic liberalisation following withdrawal of support by the Left parties. The UPA could not go ahead with its agenda of throwing the country’s banking, insurance and postal sectors to foreign capital for four years only because of the opposition from the Left parties. This was also one of the major reasons for the country’s remaining insulated from the economic slowdown, he said.

Mr. Achuthanandan questioned what he termed Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s attempt to make it appear that the funds being allotted to the States were largesse from the Centre. The States were an integral part of the Centre.

The States also acted as its main sources of revenue. It was the responsibility of the Centre to devolve funds to the States.

Where would it spend these funds if not in the States, he asked.

Rebuts charge

The Chief Minister also took exception to the Opposition charge that Kerala had become the burial ground of Centrally sponsored schemes and said that in reality, Kerala was the burial ground of Central policies which had resulted in 1,500 farmer suicides during the time of the last UDF government. The LDF government had declared a moratorium on farm loans and implemented a debt waiver scheme bringing down the number of suicides substantially.

The Opposition claims about development projects were also baseless because such a major initiatives as the Vizhinjam and Vallarpadam projects got moving only after the LDF came to power, Mr. Achuthanandan said.

Earlier in the day, the delegates’ session of the conference concluded after electing R.G. Karnik chairman, Sukumol Sen as senior vice-chairman, Ajoy Mukhopadhyay honorary president and R. Muthusundaram (Tamil Nadu) as general secretary of the AISGEF.

The other office-bearers are A.K. Chandran and K.P. Mary (Kerala), Lalan Pandey (UP), U.D. Narasimha (Karnataka), L.N. Kailashya (MP), Thamizh Selvi (Tamil Nadu), V. Gopal Reddy and K. Swami Gowda (Andhra) and N. Chandrakar (Chhattisgarh) vice-chairpersons, Smarajit Roy Choudhury (West Bengal), R.C. Jagga (Haryana) assistant general secretaries, K. Rajendran (Kerala), Manjul Kumar Das (Bihar), Ashish Debroy (Tripura), Ashok Kumar Singh (Jharkhand), Sunil Joshi and Ashok Dhool (Maharashtra), Nirmal Das (Orissa), M.D. Maqbool (J&K) and Janardhan Reddy (Andhra) secretaries.

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