Speaker Meira Kumar rejects BJP, Left demand for separate debates on FDI, FEMA

Meira Kumar

Opposition BJP and Left parties today demanded separate debates with voting on FDI in retail and related amendments in Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) rules in Lok Sabha, but it was vociferously opposed by the government and rejected by Speaker Meira Kumar.

The demand for separate discussion and voting was raised by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and supported by CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia and Gurudas Dasgupta of CPI.

But, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who is Leader of the House, opposed the demand.

After considering the two views, the Speaker ruled that the debate on FDI and FEMA will be held together after which vote can take place separately tomorrow.

Informing that she had consulted Nath and Shinde, she said the two issues are related and "therefore to avoid repetition it was decided to have combined discussion ..."

Citing a rule, Sinha said debate and voting on FDI in retail under Rule 184 should not be clubbed with the one regarding modifications to FEMA notifications issued by the RBI in October.

He said members have right to move amendments to FEMA modifications up to 30 working days from the day it was tabled in Parliament and that right should not be taken away.

"I request, doing so (clubbing the two) is not proper," he said, demanding separate debate and vote.

He noted that the notification was tabled on November 30 and the 30-day period will not end even on December 20, the last of the current Winter Session.

Sinha said the FEMA issue can be carried forward and discussed in the Budget Session or even the Monsoon Session.

Two members - Saugata Roy (Trinamool) and Hasan Khan (Ind) - have moved amendments to FEMA notification.

Supporting Sinha, Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) said there is enough time to debate and vote amendments in FEMA and hence the two should be separated.

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