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FDI in retail will make India a nation of sales boys, girls: BJP

PTI  Chennai, September 15, 2012
First Published: 22:38 IST(15/9/2012) | Last Updated: 23:03 IST(15/9/2012)

BJP on Saturday said implementation of FDI in multi-brand retail will make India a nation of "sales boys and sales girls" and it hoped to see the end of the UPA government on the issue.

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Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, said the biggest danger of allowing FDI in Indian markets was not just the threat posed to retail and services sectors but the danger faced by the manufacturing sector.

"International retail sources its products internationally and domestic sources domestically. India has not taken up any reforms in manufacturing sector. While companies from US and Europe will capture the Indian markets with cheap Chinese goods, India will become a nation of sales boys and sales girls," he said at a public meeting in Chennai.

"It is a decision for which India at least today is not prepared. And I cannot understand the compulsion. I hope the government falls on this issue so that no one repeats the mistake," he said.

Making a strong pitch against the government's decision, Jaitley said international structured retail did not create jobs but "displace" existing ones.

About four crore of India's workforce was dependent on retail sector for a livelihood and it was "erroneous" to say that opening up the market to foreign players will help both big corporates and local industry thrive, he said.

"They (foreign retailers) will source cheap, sell cheap, drive out competition and monopolise the market", he added.

The manufacturing sector suffered from among others, "rigid" labour laws, he said.

"When you monopolise market, there are very few small players.. a market controlled by a few people is contrary to public interest," he said.

Jaitley described global forums like World Trade Organisation as "bazaars", and not places of charity, where "you pay and charge for what you get."

The Manmohan Singh-led government's decision to allow FDI was "ex-parte concession" to the US and European countries, he alleged.

Slamming the recent hike of Rs. five per litre on diesel, he said it demonstrated that the UPA government was "heartless with no concern for the common man."

UPA's popularity had taken a serious beating and doubts had emerged about its ability to govern, he said.

"Quality of leadership is more than disappointing (with) indecisive leadership with no capacity to take right decisions. The unprecedented steep hike in diesel prices and indirect hike in LPG (price) demonstrates that UPA today is a heartless government with no concern for the common man," he said.

On 'coalgate', he claimed new details were surfacing everyday.

Expressing regret over stalling of Parliament on the matter, he, however, insisted it was done "in national interest".

He recalled that BJP's similar tactics in the 2G spectrum allocation scam had resulted in action being initiated and held Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "directly liable" in the alleged coal mining scam.

"In 2G, the Prime Minister was vicariously liable but in the coal scam he is directly liable" by virtue of holding the portfolio for long, Jaitley said.

Seeking cancellation of coal-block allocations, which, he said, were done "without charging" money, he called for an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team under the directions of the Supreme Court.


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