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No need for Parliament to clear retail FDI: PC
Sanjeev Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, October 8
Brushing aside political opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said this was an executive decision that did not require parliamentary approval.

Addressing the economic editors conference, he called the controversy over FDI in retail “unnecessary and unjustified”. The first comprehensive Cabinet paper on FDI in retail was prepared by the NDA government in 2002, he said.

Chidambaram’s articulation comes in the backdrop of repeated threats by the erstwhile ally of the UPA, Mamata Banerjee who has been talking about moving a resolution against FDI in retail and even a no-confidence motion against the government in Parliament in opposition to the recent government measures like hiking diesel prices, increasing FDI cap in insurance and pension and allowing FDI in retail.

Chidambaram said the NDA Cabinet note endorsed the advantages of allowing FDI in retail and said the idea was never rejected. “So, why should there be a controversy when the government announced its intention to lay down guidelines in order to enable FDI in retail?” he said.

Making a forceful pitch for moving forward on the reforms agenda, Chidambaram said India’s economy was facing a challenge and there was a risk of a sharp and continuing slowdown if reforms were not initiated.

He laid out a broad road map for reviving growth in the economy. Stressing that only more reforms could help achieve that goal, he said political obstruction was harming the economy.

Asserting the government right to take decisions, he said political parties might oppose but should not obstruct decision making. “Every government is entitled to laying down policies. Opposition to policies is legitimate, obstructionism is not. The government of the day must be allowed to lay down policies, pass legislation wherever necessary, and get on with the job of implementing those policies,” he said.

Chidambaram also underlined the need for containing inflation and said the appreciating value of the rupee would help in bringing down the cost of imported crude, petroleum products and fertilisers.

“The value of the rupee is an important factor that affects the value of imports. A depreciating rupee will also impact trade and investment, hence the need to stabilise the exchange rate. I believe we have met with moderate success,” he said. The rupee, which touched 57.22 to a dollar on June 27, 2012, has gradually appreciated to 52.13.

The other important task before the government was to contain the fiscal deficit, he said. “No one will have confidence in Indian economy if there is uncertainty about the fiscal stability of the country,” he added.

On the Kelkar committee on fiscal consolidation, he said it had presented the worst-case scenario and it was the duty of the government to take steps to avoid that and “do every thing possible to contain deficits”. The government, he added, would shortly announce a fiscal consolidation programme based on the feedback on the Kelkar panel report.

On GST, he said he would meet Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Modi and other members of the empowered committee of state finance ministers to thrash out the remaining issues.

On GAAR and retrospective taxation, he said the government would take a decision on Shome committee recommendations. The changes would be done quickly and the government might not wait till the next Budget, he said.

FM speak


“We must not fear foreign investments in India. We have the sovereign right to decide where and how foreign investments would be allowed.”


“Whether the policies are right or wrong and whether the policies have brought benefit to the people are matters on which the people alone can pass a judgement. Under our system, there is a judgement day for every government at the end of five years.”


“I believe that the growth story of India is sound and the reform momentum will remain strong and unabated. We should shed self-doubt. We should banish irrational fears and move ahead on the path of progress.”


PC rules out probe into Vadra-DLF deals

Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday ruled out any probe into business dealings between Robert Vadra and DLF in the wake of allegations levelled by Arvind Kejriwal who stuck to his charge that he got favours from the realty major. Chidambaram said the government cannot look into private transactions unless there were specific allegations of corruption. “...unless there is a specific allegation of quid pro quo or corruption, I am afraid private transactions cannot and ought not to be allowed to be questioned on the basis of imputations and insinuations,” he said. — PTI 





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