‘To say we are becoming regressive because we opposed FDI in one sector is not fair judgment’
Yashwant Sinha: The Banking Laws Amendment Bill was introduced by me in 2001-2. It was sent to the Standing Committee on Finance. It never returned the Bill with its report. UPA-I introduced the Bill in the Lok Sabha in 2005. It was referred to the committee on finance. I used to be a member of that committee. We gave our recommendations but the Left parties were opposed to its very name. So the government did not have the courage to bring it before Parliament. The Bill lapsed with the end of the 14th Lok Sabha. They re-introduced the Bill in 2011. It came to the Standing Committee and because they had included the recommendations of the Standing Committee, there were only a few issues left to consider. Section 8 of the Banking Regulation Act specifically prohibits banks from investing money in forward contracts in commodities. That has been sought to be amended by the new amendment which has been introduced by the present Finance Minister. I said in the Lok Sabha that according to our parliamentary practice, you cannot introduce a completely new concept in a Bill once it has been deliberated upon in the Standing Committee. You must send it back to the Standing Committee. Now
Mr Chidambaram seems not to be in the mood to send it back to us. I can tell you on behalf of the BJP that we will oppose the Bill if it has this amendment. If they delete that provision, we will go ahead with our support.
YP Rajesh: Why does the BJP, earlier considered a forward looking party with a difference, suddenly seem to have become the new Left?
Yashwant Sinha: I think this is a complete misunderstanding of our position. We have a track record of reforms when we were in the government. We have very clearly said that we are not opposing FDI as such. We have problems with FDI in multi-brand retail. To conclude that we are becoming regressive because we opposed FDI in one sector, will not be a fair judgment of our stand on FDI in general. I chair the Standing Committee on Finance and be it the Insurance Bill, the Pension Bill or the Banking Laws Amendment Bill, the Standing Committee concluded that given the post-2008 global experience, we should hasten slowly as far as the financial sector is concerned. And, therefore, we said that 26 per cent should be the rule for FDI in the financial sector beat. That is the position that the party has adopted.