The winter session of Parliament has been held to ransom by opposition parties over their opposition to Cabinet nod of allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent in single brand retail. It is also opposed by ruling UPA’s own allies- Trinamool Congress and DMK. Entire opposition stands united against the FDI in retail.
The main opposition BJP-ruled state governments have already made it clear that they would not allow super market giants like Wal-Mart, Thesco, Carrefour and others to open their multi-brand retail stores in their states. West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamta Bannerjee has also opposed the FDI. TMC is one of the most important allies of the UPA government. DMK which also happens to be the important southern ally of UPA has also opposed it.
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The repeated chaos and stalling of Parliament cost national exchequer crores of rupees. This is a sheer wasteful expenditure due to the inept handling of parliamentary business by ruling UPA and rigidity of opposition parties. It reflects the undermining of the highest constitutional institution in democracy.
If the Dr. Manmohan Singh Cabinet gave its approval to 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, there must be first open debate and discussion about its merit and demerit in Parliament rather than holding it to ransom to show opposition. It is not in the best interest of the people. UPA govt. says FDI in retail would provide one crore employment and would be beneficial for farmers as they would get opportunity to sell their produce to multi-brand retailer without any agent or mediator. With the coming of multi-national giants in retail like Wal-Mart, the prices would come down and give birth to competition. It would provide a win-win situation for customers. All these positives have been put forward by the UPA Government. Whether these plus points of FDI in retail stand to reason or not can only be clarified by a wide and good reasoned debate threadbare in Parliament in the interest of the people.
Undoubtedly, Dr Manmohan Singh govt. is under pressure and its confidence level is at the lowest ebb because of its utter failure in checking price rise and taking action on its own, which could reflect that it is serious to fight out corruption. It has failed to send the message out among the people that it is committed to check prices and corruption. People are getting disillusioned.
But this does not mean that all the steps taken by it must be opposed without putting its merit and demerits to reason through debate and discussion in the highest forum for the purpose in democracy. Government has bigger responsibility to ensure the smooth running of Parliament. But at the same time, opposition parties should also be considerate and co-operative.
Govt. says that it is ready to discuss any issue, and charges the opposition for stalling Parliament for the sake of political advantage at the cost of the interest of the people. While the Opposition says that the govt. has some malafide intention to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail. It is true that the main opposition BJP fears that FDI in retail would hit their vote bank hard as it has stronghold on domestic small retailers and business communities. It sees its political advantage and disadvantage.
All issues required to be put to discussion in Parliament. These days, the habit of stalling Parliament instead of being co-operative in running it is lacking in every political party. It is a bad omen for the democracy of the nation.