Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley on Thursday slammed the government's move to allow FDI in the multi-brand retail sector, saying this decision of a "lame duck government" which did not have a majority in Parliament would convert India into a country of sales boys and sales girls.
Participating in the debate on the issue, Jaitley said government's arguments were based on "deception and concocted figures", and it was deliberately creating a "horror situation" in the country to justify the need for FDI in retail.
"When we open our market to foreign retailers without reforms in manufacturing, what will happen? The first to be affected will be jobs in manufacturing sector. We will cease to be a manufacturing nation," Jaitley added.
He tore into the arguments of commerce minister Anand Sharma, who had frequent barbs with the senior BJP leader, whenever Jaitley took potshots at him in his speech, evoking laughter in the House.
Jaitley pointed out that government's contention on having left the decision of whether they want to implement FDI in multi-brand retail in their states to respective governments was incorrect, since provisions of bilateral investment treaties signed by India with 82 countries provided for same treatment to foreign and domestic investors.
He referred to Sharma and said the government was trying to hoodwink the states, to which the commerce minister replied that he had also read that clause. Jaitley shot back: "You might have read the clause but you have not understood it."
Jaitley charged Sharma with having buckled under pressure during negotiations on international platforms like the World Trade Organisation and with European Union, to which the minister nodded in disagreement and tried to rebut it, but Jaitley was unrelenting.
The BJP leader, however, praised Kamal Nath, who held the commerce portfolio in UPA-I, for having resisted globalpressure.