The Centre might not have touched retail trade in its decision on Wednesday to relax FDI norms in certain sectors but the CPI-M on Thursday said it opposed the decision, especially in the petroleum, commodity exchanges and titanium mining sectors.
The CPM said the decision to raise the foreign equity cap from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in petroleum refining public sector units would pave the way for further disinvestment in PSUs. “A condition for compulsory divestment of 26 per cent stakes to an Indian partner in case of petroleum trading and marketing companies has also been done away with. The CPM is strongly opposed to these policy moves, which seek to enhance the presence of foreign companies in the strategic petroleum and natural gas sector. The government should reconsider this decision,” the party’s Central Committee said in a press statement.
The party said the decision to allow FDI and FII up to 49 per cent in commodity exchanges was also unwarranted. The government, it said, had earlier issued an ordinance to amend the Forward Contracts Regulation Act enabling the participation of foreign players in the commodity futures market, defying the recommendation of a parliamentary standing committee, which categorically opposed such a provision. “The government seems to be impervious to opinion across the political spectrum that liberalisation of commodity exchanges is not in the interest of maintaining price stability in the economy,” the statement said.
As for the decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in titanium mining, the CPM termed it a “retrograde move’’. The party said that rather than strengthening the public sector in the extraction of exhaustible minerals, the government seems to be keen on privatising and opening up the mining sector.
The Left party reminded that the national common minimum programme of the UPA government said that FDI should be encouraged in the areas of infrastructure, high technology and exports.
“The FDI policy review undertaken by the Union Cabinet does not reflect such an approach,” it added.