FDI in retail: Paswan seeks protection for small traders

Ramvilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party today supported the government's decision to introduce FDI in multi-brand retail but insisted that the interests of small traders from Dalit and backward community be protected at all levels.

Observing that BJP's opposition on the issue is based on petty politics, the LJP president said, "BJP is raising the issue only to take attention away from other critical matters such as corruption and development. It is an example of petty politics."

"Parliament is free to discuss everything. We have been supporting the FDI in retail on one condition -- the interests of small traders from Dalit and backward communities should be protected by the government at all levels," Paswan said, favouring a discussion in Parliament on the FDI issue.

The decision will benefit traders, producers and even consumers by eliminating middlemen and shortening the route to the wholesale markets, Paswan told reporters.
The LJP president also supported appointment of IPS officer Ranjit Sinha as the Director of CBI.

Attacking BJP for its demand to revoke Sinha's appointment, he said, "Ranjit Sinha is a very competent officer. BJP has no case in opposing his appointment. BJP has been creating useless issues, without any merit."

Paswan said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding a CBI probe into alleged malpractices and embezzlement of funds in MNREGA schemes in Bihar.

"Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) has conducted a performance audit of MNREGA in Bihar from 2006-2011 and they claim that 73 per cent of funds spent in 38 districts of Bihar have been embezzled by implementing authorities," Paswan said.

Demanding an audit of the schemes, Paswan said, "There should be a CBI probe into the matter and we have requested the Prime Minister for it. There has been a windfall gain for people who were responsible for implementing the MNREGA schemes in the state. The entire scheme should be audit by competent people."

The LJP chief reiterated his demand for the passage of a bill ensuring reservation for SCs and STs in promotion.

"If it is not approved by Parliament in this session, we will go on a nation-wide agitation. We also appeal to all the political parties to support this cause."

Paswan said he has written to all the political parties seeking their support on the issue. "Only Samajwadi Party has opposed it. We request them not to drag the politics of their state at national level," Paswan said.

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