BJP, Congress spar over FDI in multi-brand retailing

BJP, Congress spar over FDI in multi-brand retailing

The UPA government announced the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retailing as a diversionary tactic, a BJP claim which was rejected by the Congress which said that the global economic downturn delayed the move.

"If they (UPA Government) wanted to do it (reforms), they could have done it long ago," visiting BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy, told a meeting of US India Business Council (USIBC) in a joint appearance with his Congress counterpart, Manish Tewari.

"With favorable numbers in the Parliament, the UPA Government had all these years to bring in the reforms including FDI in retail sector if it had the intentions and to do so, Rudy said.

He said reforms did not happen "because they wanted to be in the government for a longer period of time".

"The fact is that today the government is all stranded and is under a barrage of attack of corruption. They want diversion. They absolutely are clueless as to what the country expects because they have lost steam to run the government,” Rudy alleged.

The two are in US at the invitation of the United States Government to familiarise Indian political leadership on defense relationship between the two countries.

Rudy said the reforms did not happen "because their own alliance partners were not asking them to do it".

"So it was not us. Even if we had opposed it and they wanted to do it, they would have done it," he said.

Acknowledging that 'coalition dharma' was responsible in the delay in announcing the second set of economic reforms, Tewari argued that it was mainly delayed due to the global economic downturn.

"Circumspection and introspection was required in the aftermath of the global economic down turn," he noted.

"We waited in the last three years, caution and prudence demanded that we be deliberate and slow about the entire process," Tewari argued.

"Coupled with the realisation that there was need to go back on a high growth trajectory as well as to see how some of these sectors which desperately required certain amount of collaboration, certain amount of infusion could be best opened up .. I think those are really the factors that dictated the decision," Tewari said.

During the candid conversation, USIBC encouraged the parties' leaders to work together and not allow politics to hamper the implementation of the progressive reforms.

"Now is the time for cooperation and action," said USIBC president Ron Somers.
"Last week's reforms will help the government in tackling inflation, create millions of jobs for India's massive youth population, and give India's economy a much needed boost.

"The investment in the critical back end infrastructure will directly benefit the farmers and ultimately the Indian consumer, who will enjoy improved quality and lower prices," Somers said in a statement.

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