Thursday, December 1, 2011

No rationale behind stalemate

Why the most important business of Parliament should be wasted because of the opposition to the govt. move to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent in single brand retail. If the opposition parties together oppose FDI in retail, they have every right to move the motion against it and put it to voting. Should the Dr. Manmohan Singh fails to get the support of MPs require to run the govt., it will automatically fall. There will be mid-term poll on the issue and the ultimate master, the people, will be the final arbiter whether FDI is wrong or right. The nation can not develop in isolation. Despite opposition to economic liberalization in Europe and America, they have not spurned it. India is comparatively new entrant on the stage of economic reforms. It can not roll back mid-day. It has to take it to its logical end.

There is no sense in holding the Parliament to ransom since the winter session began last week. Today’s opposition will be tomorrow’s treasury bench and if it becomes the tradition in Parliamentary democracy, it is very difficult to run Parliament because of opposition to certain government’s decision. Finally, the democracy will be in jeopardy.

Dr. Manmohan Singh-led UPA govt. says that the 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail will benefit farmers, consumers, generate one crore jobs and help build infrastructure like cold storage and agricultural research. It will also give birth to competition. FDI in multi-brand has not been allowed without conditions. Super market giants like Wal-Mart, Tesco and Carefour can only open their multi-brand retail outlets in the city of above 10 lakh population. They will also have to take permission from the state governments to open their outlets. They will also have to purchase 30 per cent goods from domestic market. There are several states run by opposition parties who are opposed to FDI in retail. Presently, there are 53 cities of above 10 lakh population. 28 out of 53 cities are in the states ruled by opposition parties. It means even if Wal-Mart, Tesco and Carrefour are allowed to open their outlets, they can open in only 25 cities of the country. Opposition says that with the coming of multi-brand retail giants of the world in our country, they will destroy our 4 crore small retail shops as they will not stand up to them in competition. But one thing is to be considered seriously that when computer was introduced in our country, was there no opposition? At that time also, it was apprehended by the opposition camp that it would render crores of people jobless. That did not happen and on contrary to apprehension of job loss, it increased the job many-fold. There is no doubt that the livelihood of 20 crore people is dependent on our small retail shops. They will continue to run as usual. Here are malls and Reliance retail outlets and just in front of them, there are small tea shops at roadside, green grocer and small fruit vendors who are running their business comfortably.

So, if the Parliament was allowed to run and a thoughtful and reasoned debate would have taken place from opposition as well as treasury benches, the people would have been benefited much. They would have understood better as to which side has given the sound reasoning in support or against the FDI in retail. There is no sense in stalling the Parliament.

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