Not a fraction of doubt now remains over the UPA government’s machinations leading up to the hiked cap on foreign direct investment in several crucial sectors. This newspaper has been shouting from the rooftop and the first to put its finger on the Manmohan Singh-led government’s ulterior motive, virtually mortgaging the economy to global corporations who dictate financial terms and conditions that our political maters blindly follow.
It is now out in the open that the effort of the UPA government in hiking the FDI cap was purely a tactical choice, bending to the whimsies of the global retail giants, particularly Wal-mart and Tesco, in the wake of their persistent annoyance over the FDI laws that existed as a check and balance to counter absolute economic deregulation and making the domestic market open to virtually every shock and ripple coursing through the international trade and capital circuits. That the FDI norms were relaxed to chase the elusive FDI in multibrand retail has been the case in point that Millennium Post had been stating from the beginning. It is appalling how the government, after tasting the blood by raising the FDI cap in retail in September 2012, went on to further sell off the sensitive defence, telecom and insurance sectors, opening them up to the global players and compromising severely the security, both physical, national and economic, of the country.
It is now obvious that the entire exercise was a shoddy gimmick, under the pretext of stabilising the dwindling rupee, which in itself had weakened because the US Federal Reserve had decided to withdraw the easy and short-term loan schemes that had hitherto so fired up the roaring engines of the Indian economy.
As if visit after visit from the US government representatives and bearers of high offices were not enough an indication that our ministers were bowing under pressure from the corporate and financial lobbies sitting in Washington, what is deplorable is the manner in which the country has been hoodwinked into believing that the whole endeavour was a concerted effort on the part of the government to rescue the economy from suffering more distress and from preventing the rupee from climbing down further against the dollar, the world’s only reserve currency.
The government’s misguided hope that the sops doled out to the retail giants across the world would ameliorate their grievances and give a happy ending to the sob story of India’s slowing growth is, certainly, disconcerting. In fact, the government is casting a blind eye to the string of reservations that is gaining ground world-wide, particularly, on the ecological implications of having such giant retail units and how they imperil local and hitherto sustainable economies. However, the government’s myopic pursuit of ephemeral GDP figures is clearly pushing the economy down a precipice of overreliance on the unreliable foreign investment trends.