Millennium Post

Ready to risk no-trust vote for FDI: Govt

Gearing up for a determined Opposition attack on foreign direct investment (FDI) during the coming Parliament session, the government asserted on Friday that it is ready to face any situation, including a no-confidence motion, to ensure the passage of what it termed ‘key’ bills. ‘We sincerely hope that the forthcoming session will be a productive one and many bills will be passed,’ said  Finance Minister P Chidambaram at a Press conference which was also attended by Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.

The economic agenda includes amendment of the Insurance Bill to raise the FDI cap from 26 to 49 per cent, Banking Regulation Amendment Bill and Direct Taxes Code. When it was pointed out that the Opposition was gearing up to target the government over FDI in multi-brand retail, Tewari said, ‘If they want to corner us, we have no objection. We are ready to discuss anything if the rules permit. But if Parliament is not allowed to function, it would not be good for Parliamentary democracy.’

The government has already allowed FDI in multi-brand retail through an executive order.

To a question about former UPA ally Trinamool Congress threatening to move a no-confidence motion, Sibal replied, ‘It is the right of every political party to put any motion before the House. When the motion is brought before the House, we will face it.’

Chidambaram, however, pointed out that the government is reaching out to parties across the political to seek their support for passage of ‘important economic bills’. ‘The Parliament session has a very heavy legislative agenda. We are reaching out to the various political parties to carry through these agenda in the four weeks that we have for the session,’ he said.

‘My suggestion is that not one issue should be blown out of proportion. There are many very important issues that concern the welfare of the people and future of country,’ the finance minister noted.

Noting that the economy is being ‘challenged’, the minister said that the government would be taking steps to revive growth, which has slipped to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent in 2012-13.

‘... we are taking number of steps to revive economic growth. Only this morning you have read that the Eurozone is now formally in recession. We are nowhere near such a situation,’ he added.

The Indian economy is still growing at 5.5 per cent, Chidambaram said, adding that the ‘second quarter number will be known by the end of this month. And I think there will be a pick-up in the third and fourth quarters.’ The growth rate in the first quarter of 2012-13 was 5.5 per cent.

The goal, the minister said, would be to tide over the difficult period and end the year with a reasonably satisfactory note.

Chidambaram said that he would endeavour to present a ‘more balanced budget’ for 2013-14 and expressed confidence that ‘growth will revive and (we will) move on to a high-growth track.’
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