M A I N   N E W S

No retail FDI rollback, says Sharma
Dares Opposition to bring no-confidence motion in Parliament
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 2
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today ruled out any rollback of the policy on FDI in the retail sector and even challenged the Opposition to bring a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

Speaking exclusively to The Tribune, Sharma answered a range of questions on the policy, which he has piloted. The policy has become a bone of contention with the Opposition not in sync and Parliament not functioning.

A confident and aggressive Commerce and Industry Minister said there would be no rollback as the Opposition parties were demanding. He said the “government is talking to everyone, including the allies who have a point of view”. He even challenged the Opposition to bring a no-confidence motion against the government in Parliament.

He also ruled out giving any more concessions under the policy. “We cannot make the policy more sub-optimal,” he said. The investors would not like and they would not come.

On opposition by several states, he said this was an enabling policy and the final call lay with the states whether they wanted to implement it or not. He, however, said the states that did not like the policy could not have a veto right over others who wanted to implement it. “I will not have it and not allow others to have it,” Sharma said, “cannot become the formulation.”

On speculation whether the Congress was on board on the issue, he said the party was very much on board and the party spokesperson had made that known repeatedly. He asked rhetorically, “Which party does PM, Pranab, Chidambaram, myself belong to? We all belong to the Congress.”

He said party president Sonia Gandhi had been informed about the policy. “Though she does not interfere with the government functioning and does not get into nitty-gritty of things, she had given two broad directives,” he added. Sharma said the Congress president had asked that the interest of small farmers and micro and small enterprises should be protected.

Asked about the threat perception of retailers, Sharma said why so much panic was being created about the opening of the retail sector when far more sensitive sectors like airports, telecom and ports had been already opened up.

On the scare about MNCs taking over the retail trade, he said these were misplaced fears. On the allies, he said two allies, the NCP and the NC in J&K, were in agreement, while the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and the DMK in Tamil Nadu were not agreeing.


Full text of the interview to appear soon



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