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BJP, Left welcome debate on retail FDI, also eye FEMA vote

Posted on Nov 29, 10:57PM | IANS

As the deadlock over a debate on FDI in retail was finally resolved Thursday, opposition parties said they are also looking forward to the voting on the FEMA.

Both the BJP and the Left welcomed the debate under rules that entail vote, and at the same time slammed the government for not agreeing to the demand earlier and wasting the time of parliament.

"In both houses government has agreed for FDI retail debate. I thank Lok Sabha Speaker (Meira Kumar) and Rajya Sabha Chairman (M. Hamid Ansari)," said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said: "Finally, the government agreed to have a debate on FDI with vote, but if they would have done it earlier, so much time would not have been lost".

The opposition parties, however, indicated that they will again corner the government when voting on changes in the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) takes place.

"After the debate, the government will have to bring FEMA for vote which will actually show who is in favour of retail FDI and who is against it. If some parties vote in against government in the debate, and vote in favour in FEMA, it will show their reality," said Prasad.

The Left said it would use "all options" available in the rules of business in parliament to stop government from implementing retail FDI.

"We firmly believe this (FDI in retail) is not in favour of the country. Even if they win the vote after debate, we would move amendments when FEMA comes in parliament," said Yechury.

"We will utilise all available options under the Rules of Business to ensure that this (decision on FDI in retail) is not implemented... We'll use all procedures to stall it," he said.

FEMA, which regulates entry of foreign investment in the country, did not allow retail in FDI. After cabinet approval to the proposal, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) amended the act, but it will be permanent only if it gets the nod of both houses of parliament.

Prasad, meanwhile, also slammed the government for not tabling FEMA despite the fact that a week of this session has already passed.

"If they were so serious about retail FDI, and it is a golden hen as they claimed, why did they not table it as soon as the session started?" he questioned.

Debate on FDI with provision for voting in the Lok Sabha is scheduled for Dec 4-5. It is likely to be taken up by the Rajya Sabha after that.