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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

National sovereignty mortgaged

Col SK Aggarwal (retd)   December 09, 2012
First Published: 12:20 IST(9/12/2012) | Last Updated: 12:22 IST(9/12/2012)

Mahatma Gandhi must be shedding tears at the behaviour and dirty politics of those who invoke his name day in and day out. While he had organised a movement to evict the British from India, his followers in the Congress are inviting them over.

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The Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have helped the government sail through the Rajya Sabha as well on FDI in multi-brand retail. They may be unreliable, but their move was on expected lines. The USA and Britain will now jointly rule India. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who wants to go down fighting, will be responsible for letting down the nation and perpetually mortgaging national sovereignty.

No wonder, Walmart is accused of paying bribe to corrupt politicians and bureaucrats in India, and their CEO stands suspended. The Congress must remember that the coming generations will never forgive them for the Himalayan blunder they have committed. It will prove suicidal.

The USA, Britain and Germany are in a win-win situation, whereas India has much to lose and nothing to gain. What will make the Indian government accountable? The fall of Berlin? I foresee a fall of South Block. We will be governed by the UNO, the WTO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which the Congress and its associates are not able to understand, or are pretending not to have understood, due to obvious reasons.

I am not an agent or spokesperson for the USA, UK or Germany, but I am certainly a patriotic Indian. We can't forget that Dr Manmohan Singh and the Congress had, in 2002, termed even 26% FDI in multi-brand retail as "anti-national". Now they are going for 51% FDI. What made them change their stand? Payments of bribe by Walmart are an open secret. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj's argument against the decision was most logical and reasonable. Even union cabinet minister Kapil Sibal has not contested it. What is the hurry? The government should examine all the positive and negative aspects of the decision and come to a rational conclusion which is in the overall interest of the nation, not just a few persons.

The WTO and the GATT will come into operation and the so-called safeguards are liable to be challenged in a court of law. The new entrants cannot be compelled to buy 30% of the goods from Indian producers. Moreover, most of them will open stores only in cities with a population of at least 50 lakh.

Walmart is already operating in Zirakpur in association with Bharti and will open retail stores in all other cities with an eye on the market. To wipe out retailers from the market, Walmart will initially operate on negligible profit margins and later increase their prices to compensate for the previous notional losses. Domestic manufacturers will be the biggest losers.

Unemployment will rise. Consumers and farmers will also tend to lose in the long run.

Whatever the government might claim, states cannot decide on FDI in retail because in a democracy, governments come and go. The interests of the people, who are here to stay, are supreme. FDI up to 49% should not invite any objection since WTO and GATT rules would not apply and, in the process, national interests would also not be compromised.

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