Speaker decides to hold combined debate on FDI, FEMA

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Tuesday rejected the opposition's plea to hold separate debate and voting on foreign investment in retail and modifications to the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act).

"In order to save time, I have decide to hold a combined debate," the speaker said, citing rule 235. She was responding to the points of order raised by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharia.

As per the list of business in the lower house, motions on modifications to the FEMA were to be taken up together with a debate on the foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail under rule 184, which entails voting.

This led BJP leaders Sinha and Murli Manohar Joshi, CPI-M leader Acharia and CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta to urge the speaker to not allow a combined debate. Sinha urged the speaker to postpone the FEMA vote till the next budget session of parliament.

The opposition leaders said rule 234 allows the members time of 30 days to move motions on FEMA rules from the day the notifications are tabled in the Lok Sabha.
The FEMA notification was tabled in the lower house Nov 30. "The 30-day period will remain intact," the speaker said in her ruling.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath challenged the opposition and asked them why they were running away from a vote. Leader of the House and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said rule 235 permitted a combined discussion and vote on the FDI in multi-brand retail and modifications to the FEMA rules, needed to facilitate FDI in retail.

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