Rajya Sabha win or not, Centre believes no stopping retail FDI

Regardless of the outcome of the voting in the Rajya Sabha on FDI in retail and even on the enabling amendments in the Foreign Exchange Management Regulations (FEMA) allowing it, the government's policy looks set to come in force.

UPA strategists are said to believe the outcome of voting on either of these two issues in the Upper House would not put legal obstacles in the implementation of the executive decision though causing some political embarrassment.

The Opposition has been hoping to stall FDI in retail by voting against the FEMA regulation amendments. Legal luminaries in the government have, however, concluded that even if the amendments are approved by one House, there would be no legal hurdles in their implementation.

On Friday, the government tabled five amendments in FEMA, as notified by the RBI, in the Lok Sabha. As per its interpretation of Clause 48 of FEMA, both Houses have to agree to any Opposition-sponsored modification in the rule or regulation and both Houses have to agree that the rule or regulation should not be made. Since the government is confident of the numbers in the Lok Sabha, it is not worried about the outcome of voting in the Rajya Sabha.

Asked what would be the course of action if the Opposition sponsored motion for modification of the amendment is passed in one House but defeated in the other, a senior Parliament officer said, "It has to receive majority support in both Houses. Otherwise, the regulations or rules tabled by the government will be deemed to have been accepted."

The functionary added that since the principle Act, FEMA, doesn't make it mandatory for the government to seek approval of either of the Houses with regard to new regulations, the onus of getting any objection or amendment to rules or regulations defeated would lie with the MP moving the amendment.

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