BJP questions motive behind latest reforms

BJP questions motive behind latest reforms

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday refused to play straight on allowing 49 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance and pension, while questioning the “legal and political intentions” of the Centre’s reform initiatives.

The BJP is finding it hard to put the whole issue in black and white in spite of committing in a parliamentary standing committee that the party is open to FDI in insurance and pension only to the extent of 26 per cent. Opposition parties like the Janata Dal-United, Left and the Trinamool Congress have outrightly rejected the proposed fillip to the economy by the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said his party “is not against the FDI” but is concerned over the “foreign direct intervention” in reviving the economy at the cost of domestic measures, including investment in infrastructure and agriculture.

“We have made it very clear that we are against FDI in multi-brand retail. As for Thursday's Cabinet decision, the standing committee on finance had opposed more than 26 per cent FDI in insurance. The BJP is opposed to the government's views,” he said. When asked if the party would oppose the UPA move in Parliament, he said the leaders “are discussing the issue and will go public at an opportune time.” Several BJP leaders fear that the party may end up creating an impression that it is anti-reforms.

It may also be embarrassing because during the rule of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Atal Bihari government had initiated a move to allow FDI in insurance and pension.

Interestingly, Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav said the Centre was on an announcement spree to bring foreign capital to the country. “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should "disinvest the Central government also to complete the cycle," he said sarcastically. The Janata Dal-United is an NDA partner.

He said: “We would try to get the unanimous view of the entire Opposition.  But the country has so much contradictions that it is difficult to reach a consensus.” 
The Left parties slammed the UPA decision and said these measures would make India’s finance sector more vulnerable to speculative finance capital.

“The decision to allow FDI in pension funds will jeopardise the savings of millions of employees in the country,” said the CPM politburo. The CPM appealed to the people to “oppose these anti-people measures.” It also called upon political parties to defeat these measures.

The CPM and CPI will meet on Saturday to discuss economic reforms.
The UPA may find it difficult to gobble up the support of political parties to get the economic reforms passed in Parliament owing to the political turmoil.

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