FDI IN RETAIL: CAIT demands explanation from Anand Sharma
Author(s): City Air NewsNew Delhi, January 28, 2013: At a time when the Union Government was announcing to institute a one-man committee to probe whether U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart had indulged in lobbying activities by violating Indian...
New Delhi, January 28, 2013: At a time when the Union Government was announcing to institute a one-man committee to probe whether U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart had indulged in lobbying activities by violating Indian laws to gain access to its market, at the same time the Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma was alleged breaching the privilege of the Parliament by conveying the Walmart CEO that policy on FDI in Multi Brand Retail has finality inspite of the fact that the policy is still under consideration of the Parliament and is yet to be passed by Rajya Sabha.
Brushing aside the inquiry announced by the Government same day, Anand Sharma was shaking hands and holding discussions with Walmart CEO of prospective business in India. Such a conduct of the Commerce Minister amounts to breach of privilege and may influence the impartial conduct of the inquiry, said the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) which is spearheading a vocal opposition voice against FDI in Retail.
CAIT National President B. C. Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal while strongly criticising the conduct of the Union Commerce Minister said that on 24th January in an official statement released by the government it was announced that the Union Cabinet has approved the appointment of one man committee to look in to media reports of bribery and violation of any Indian law and the Committee would give its report in three month's time whereas on the same day another PIB release said that Anand Sharma met Walmart CEO at Davos and informed him that India’s Policy on FDI in Multi Brand retail has finality and they need not be unduly concerned about any policy reversal.
Both Bhartia and Khandelwal said that such a statement of policy finality by Anand Sharma is misleading and can be construed as contempt of Parliament since the FDI policy is still under the consideration of Parliament. The amendments proposed by the Reserve Bank of India in rules and regulations of FEMA are still under the consideration of Rajya Sabha and as per Section 48 of the FEMA Act, the proposals of amendment can be agree, disagree or modify by both the houses of Parliament. Therefore, the assurance made by Anand Sharma at Davos to Walmart CEO is breach of privilege of the Parliament, the CAIT leaders alleged.
They said it is pertinent to note that senior CPM Leader Sita Ram Yechury has already given notice on the subject which will be taken for discussion in next session of the Parliament.
The CAIT has demanded an explanation from Anand Sharma and will take this matter to political parties for taking appropriate steps.