All eyes on Rajya Sabha; no separate vote on Fema
Both the BSP and SP on Monday reiterated their opposition to FDI in retail, but did not seem inclined to vote against the government.
Leader of the opposition in the Lower House BJP’s Sushma Swaraj attacked the Congress Party-led coalition, questioning claims that foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail will create 40 lakh jobs. Stating that the decision will benefit China while hurting interests of Indian traders and farmers, Swaraj said the experience of countries that implemented FDI in retail has not been good.
Telecom minister Kapil Sibal countered opposition arguments saying it was “foolish” to presume presence of foreign retails will kill small retailers in Indian cities. Multi-brand retail FDI requires a minimum initial investment of $100 million, the minister said.
Lok Sabha speaker Speaker Meira Kumar rejected the demand from BJP and Left parties for separate discussion and voting on FDI in retail and amendments to Fema.
The Speaker ruled that the debate on FDI and Fema will be held together after which vote can take place separately on Wednesday. Commerce minister Anand Sharma will reply to the discussion