With Parliament stalled for more than a week over FDI in multi-brand retail, the Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia accused the Opposition of trying to create a 'political opportunity' that is not grounded in 'sound economy'.
Ahluwalia, who rarely speaks on political issues, expressed surprise at the BJP's opposition to FDI stand after introducing it in 2002, when it was in the government.
"I am amazed to hear that opposition claims that 2011 is not the right time to allow FDI in multi-brand retail. In my view it is better than 2002, as economy has expanded and there is need for modernisation of food chain more than that in 2002," he told HT in an exclusive interview.
According to him, FDI in multi-brand retail will act as a stimulus to modernisation of food chain and will benefit both consumers and the farmers. This, according to Ahluwalia, will happen with wiping out of agents at all levels in the entire food chain.
The plan panel deputy chairperson also said modernisation was important considering the rise in demand of perishable goods such a meat, fish, vegetables and fruits.
These are the categories where there is lot of waste because the country lacks cold storage facilities.
"We should not have taxis and should have allowed only cycle rickshaws to run," was his counter on BJP claim on impact of FDI in retail.
Ahluwalia advised the Oppposition to let Parliament run, where pros and cons of the issue can be debated in detail and not to seek an adjournment motion on every issue under the sun. "Seeking division of vote on every issue is contrary to Parliamentary precedent," he said.