'Sushma's statement has exposed BJP's floor strategy on FDI debate': Manish Tewari
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Wednesday said Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj's statement towards the end of her debate on FDI in multi-brand retail has exposed the Bharatiya Janata Party's floor strategy on this discussion.
"I think that became very clear towards the end of the leader of opposition's debate. When she conceded that the entire intent of seeking a 184 was to try and persuade the government and not defeat the government. So, if the intent was to persuade then why a 184, the persuasion could have been done under 193 also," said Tewari.
"I think the contradiction inherent in the leader of opposition's statement towards the end of her long diatribe really exposed the Bharatiya Janata Party and what their floor strategy on this debate is," he added, when asked whether there was any substance in the allegations levelled by the BJP for McDonald's has refuted Swaraj's claims that they import potatoes.
Swaraj, who initiated the debate on FDI in retail in the Lok Sabha yesterday, said the Congress-led UPA Government's claim that foreign investment would benefit farmers, consumers and generate employment was a myth.
The BJP leader said the government's argument that FDI in retail will benefit farmers is flawed.
"Big retail chains have failed in several countries. Retail FDI will wipe out the options available to consumers. The retail in control of big firms will wipe out the small consumers FDI will not benefit farmers," she added.
"Ask McDonald's about their fries. They never buy potatoes from local Indian farmers, saying the potatoes are too small here," she said, while citing the instances of how potato farmers are forced to throw their potatoes away while McDonald's imports the potatoes it uses.
McDonald's has rubbished the BJP leader's claim, saying 'they import only on rare occasions when local supplies run out'.
"Before setting up its business in India, McDonald's had made a commitment to Government on local sourcing of its entire raw material requirement. We confidently and proudly state that ingredients used in our products are sourced locally that includes the French Fries," said McDonald's India (North and East) Managing Director Vikram Bakshi in a statement.
"We, along with our supplier, McCain, have worked closely with farmers in India to produce process-grade potato varieties. We continue to contribute in the growth of these farmers. McDonald's remains steadfast to its commitment of working with local suppliers and farmers to source all its requirements in India," he added.
Swaraj also pointed out yesterday that US-based retail giant Walmart needs 36,000 stores to create 40 lakh jobs
"Government says that FDI will generate employment for 40 lakh people. But going by figures if we have to employ so many people, then all companies like Wal-Mart, Tesco and others coming to India need to open over 36,000 stores in 53 cities, which means over 600 stores in each city," she said.
Swaraj said that all around the world, large supermarkets tend to keep high profits while giving low prices to farmers and low wages to workers.
The senior BJP leader at the end of her debate urged the government to rollback its decision of permitting FDI in multi-brand retail.
"Hum aapko harakar jeet darj nahi karna chahte hain, manakar jeet darj karana chahte hain," she said.