UPA govt wins retail FDI vote in Rajya Sabha as SP walks out

Parliament

Sharma questioned BJP's opposition to FDI in retail saying that when the party was in power, it had plans to allow FDI in retail up to the extent of 100 percent, which was countered vociferously by members from the BJP including Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley.

To justify his arguments, Sharma cited a report of a Committee of Planning Commission in 2002 headed by N K Singh, now a JD-U member of Rajya Sabha.

Sharma said the report had favoured up to 100 per cent FDI in retail be brought in as it will benefit both consumers and farmers.

Singh wanted to respond to it but the minister refused to yield leading to pandemonium with Trinamool Congress and Left showing solidarity with Singh and slamming the minister.

An angry Opposition accused Sharma of misleading the House and demanded an apology from the government as Singh said that the report had concluded that FDI in multi-brand retail was not in interest of the nation at this time.

The uproar led to abrupt adjournment of the House for over an hour.

Targetting Sharma, Jaitley said, "The Minister has said that N K Singh in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee has supported FDI in multi-brand retail. He cannot play up one paragraph. You are reading the preamble and not the conclusion...please allow him (Singh) to speak."

When the House re-assembled, the minister said his contention was misunderstood but he wanted to ask why the proposal was not taken forward.

Responding to the Opposition's criticism of FDI, Sharma accused Opposition of creating a scare over the issue and rejected Jaitley's contention that THE measure will lead to India becoming a nation of sales boys and sales girls.

"You have scared foreign investors, who want to visit India," he said.

... contd.

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