RSS-affiliate SJP opposes govt's FDI move, faultlines widen

RSS-affiliate SJP opposes govt's FDI move, faultlines widen

A day after its decision to ease up norms for foreign direct investment, RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has opposed the Cabinet's decision allowing 100% FDI under automatic route for single-brand retail and construction development.

"We also express our strong resentment to the Union Cabinet's decision to allow foreign investment up to 49% in Air India and other decisions about easing of norms for FDI and FIIs," SJP co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan said in a statement on Thursday.

Although the Modi government's decisions came after a series of confabulations between key BJP leaders including some Union ministers and RSS functionaries, the SJM said it firmly believed that "easing the norms for FDI in single-brand retail trade would go against the best interest of the country."

Hitherto, the RSS-affiliated bodies have not been openly critical of the government's decisions, preferring to air their views in internal meetings.

The SJP held that "more worrisome is the decision to soften the condition of mandatory sourcing requirement of 30% of purchases from India for 5 years after the opening of the first store by the foreign company."

"As a result of this decision foreign companies would get freedom of procuring the products from anywhere in the globe. This would go against the interests of the domestic manufacturing and also would discourage the future investment in manufacturing in India and therefore would go against the own declared policy of the government of encouraging Make in India," Mahajan said.

The SJP functionary said the decision was ill-timed as at present domestic manufacturing was in serious problems due to lack of new investment in manufacturing in the country.

"We call upon the governments to revisit this decision and do not tinker with the 30% mandatory procurement by MNCs from within the country."

Conveying its "deep displeasure" over the decision to allow 40% foreign investment in Air India, the SJM believed that this was not the best of the solutions for ending the troubles with the national carrier.

"Firstly, there is a need to make an enquiry into the state of affairs in Air India and also into the causes of its ill health and thereby fixing the responsibility for the same. Secondly, there is a huge amount of resources of Air India which is lying idle. This could easily be monetised to bring it out of the blues," Mahajan said.

Thirdly, he said, it would be prudent to honour the report of the Parliamentary Committee, which has recently recommended against the disinvestment in Air India and has recommended for holding back this decision for the time being.

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