Left and Right sharpen knives for FDI battle
The Cabinet's approval of 51% FDI in multi-brand retail is likely to flare up into a major political controversy with the main opposition parties gearing up to oppose it.delhi Updated: Nov 25, 2011 08:58 IST
The Cabinet's approval of 51% FDI in multi-brand retail is likely to flare up into a major political controversy with the main opposition parties gearing up to oppose it.
While BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley jointly condemned any such move at a press meet on Thursday afternoon, the CPM also came out all guns blazing against it.
"As it affects the livelihood of so many people, BJP will adopt all legal and legitimate means of opposing it," said spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.
Earlier, Jaitley mounted a frontal assault on FDI in multi-brand retail, saying it could adversely affect millions.
The issue is crucial for the BJP because traders — small and medium — form part of the party's core constituency.
"The services sector accounts for 58% of country's GDP. The retail chains in India, both small and big, account for a major segment of the services sector," Jaitley said. "FDI with deep pockets entering this segment will have an adverse impact on our domestic retail sector…"
Jaitley insisted that "fragmented markets" gave more choice to consumers than "consolidated" ones, adding that once they eliminate competition through predatory pricing, large global retain chains create monopolies.
The Left — wary of large chains based in the capitalist world — was equally critical.
CPM's Sitaram Yechury said FDI was acceptable only if it fulfilled three conditions — generating employment, enhancing capacities and bringing new technologies.
"In the US, there is a significant fall in employment in the retail sector. Walmart has faced court cases for violating labour laws. In India, retail provides highest employment after agriculture."