FDI will spell doom for farmers, small traders: Oppo

Opposition NDA and estranged UPA ally Trinamul Congress today criticised the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, saying government has surrendered to crony capitalism and feared that the policy will spell doom for farmers and small traders.

Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari dispensed with Question Hour “as a rarest of rare cases” to resume discussion on the the motion moved by V. Maitreyan (AIADMK) rejecting the government’s decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.

Earlier, leaders of political parties and parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath requested for doing away with the Question Hour to resume discussion on the issue.

Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) said some top economists in the government were associated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the two multi-lateral agencies propagating the cause of foreign investment.

“IMF, World Bank, WTO, Asian Development Bank (ADB) run economic policy of the world,” Tiwari said adding the nation’s future was being impacted by their policies.

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said FDI was “foreign direct intrusion” and accused commerce minister Anand Sharma of “deliberately” misleading the House and the country on the issue.

“FDI may be starting in only 53 cities but it will spread all over the country and traders will be finished,” he said, adding, “This government has totally surrendered to crony capitalism” and the country was run to “please White House.”

Shanta Kumar (BJP) said foreign investment cannot be ignored and multi-nation trade was essential. “But how FDI is allowed should be decided keeping the country’s interest in mind,” he said.

Balwinder Singh Bhunder (SAD) said FDI is not a charitable trust and will spell doom for the farmers. FDI will not save the country but mortgage the nation. “Neither farmers nor traders will be saved... Desh ko bachao, FDI to bhagao (save the country banishing FDI),” he said.

“If farmers have to be saved, inputs like seed, fertiliser and diesel have to be made cheaper,” he said.

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Cricket

With the foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan being iced due to the meeting between Kashmiri separatists and the Pakistani high commissioner, it may be worth recalling an episode from contemporaneous history.

As the old saying goes, “Can you say ‘boo’ to a goose?” Well, in India, we don’t waste our precious time booing geese. We reserve our boos for chief ministers. Each time the Prime Minister steps out to attend important functions in states that are still hanging on to their own non-BJP leaders (with time bombs ticking away), the crowds make sure nobody but Narendra Modi is heard.