FDI in retail: CPM to force a vote on FEMA amendments
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The CPM is all set to open another front against the UPA government move to bring FDI in multi-brand retail by forcing a vote in the Lok Sabha over the recent RBI amendment in the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). These amendments have to be tabled in Parliament within a time-frame and if any MP seeks a change, these have to be put to vote.
"We shall move an amendment. The current deals that the Congress leadership is making with other parties are a sheer waste as there is no way it can avoid a vote over FDI," said CPM parliamentary party leader and Politburo member Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday.
He said the RBI amendments were notified through a gazette of India on October 30. "Section 48 of the FEMA requires that these amendments are tabled in Parliament as soon as possible," he said. As per the convention, the expression "as soon as possible" implies it is done before the 15th sitting of the session which follows the notification. "This means by December 13. The amendments have to be considered by Parliament within 30 days of being tabled," Yechury said.
Earlier this month, when the SC said it would not interfere in policy decisions, advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, who had challenged the gazette notification, had expressed his apprehension that the government may not place the amendments before the House for its approval as per Section 47 and 48 of FEMA.
However, Justice R M Lodha had told the petitioner, "Why do you presume the government will not place the amendments before Parliament? If the provisions require them to do so, they will have to do it. Your apprehensions are premature and unfounded. If Parliament does not approve the amendments, it will be at their [Centre] own risk." Last weekend, the Confederation of All India Traders had said that the FDI notification can be "valid" and "effective" only if the amendments made by the RBI in rules and regulations of FEMA are approved by both Houses of Parliament.