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Contrary to what the government claims, the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail is not exactly an executive decision, argues the CPM journal People's Democracy. The government had been trying to fend off demands for a vote on FDI under Rule 184 in Parliament saying this was an executive decision. "FDI in this sector is expressly prohibited under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999. Any decision now to permit FDI would require an amendment in these FEMA regulations which are made by the RBI," says the editorial.
Following a writ petition in the Supreme Court, the RBI had issued amendments to the regulation allowing FDI in multi-brand retail two months ago, the write-up says. The editorial argues that according to Section 48 of FEMA, any amendment must be tabled in both Houses of Parliament and voted upon. The point being the decision to allow FDI in retail requires an amendment to an existing law, and laws can be made and amended only by the legislature, not the executive.
Cash transfer ploy
The government's cash-transfer scheme is completely erroneous, says the CPI in its weekly, New Age. One of the arguments against the scheme is that India's banking network is not adequate to benefit everyone. "The beneficiary of a particular scheme will have to spend more on transport to reach the bank than the amount he or she is going to receive," says the editorial.
Regarding the government's claim that Aadhaar cards could provide everyone with easy access to money through bank accounts, New Age says Parliament has yet to approve the creation of this mechanism; only 210 million people have been issued Aadhaar numbers as yet, and that half of the rural population does not have bank accounts.
"How can government go ahead with a mechanism that is under dispute? What about the allegation that the process adopted for [the] Aadhaar card [is] being used to manipulate the figures of those living below the poverty line?" it asks, adding that this looked like a way to reduce the number of genuine BPL people to show the poverty has been removed.