Millennium Post

The seriousness of the FDI issue

That the government and the opposition are at loggerheads over the issue of foreign direct investment is not surprisng. The major political parties including the BJP, the Left and the Trinamool Congresss have served notices for the discussion of the issue, which the government has been stalling. However, the government already seems to have taken a decision on this issue.

What the government has done with regard to FDI is usually not acceptable in any democratic polity. It is not usual for a government to take a decision of such magnitude as the introduction of FDI in retail sector by an executive order. This appears to be in violation of legality and constitutional principles to which such a decision is expected to conform. For such a decision is expected to be taken through amendments in the law which can only be done by Parliament. The government has claimed that it had the power to take such a decision without the approval of Parliament but this is simply not the case. This is a complete misreading of the law of the land and the Constitution.

The govenment has allowed 51 per cent FDI in retail this September, on which number there is simply no agreement in India. Such a large amount of FDI seems to give control of private domestic capital and companies to foreign companies. This is simply unacceptable. There has been near-unanimity in the country that though some FDI may be allowed in certain circumstances, it must not cross a  minimum limit.

There is no consensus in Parliament and elsewhere in the nation over the issue. In fact, many in the nation are strongly opposed to FDI. Therefore, the government has taken this decision without consulting the people of the nation. This is not in keeping with democratic principles on which our country is constituted. Even today, the opposition parties have  completely different views on this issue and even some of the allies have concerns. The matter has simply not been discussed as completely as it should have been, neither in Parliament nor in the public arenas nor in the Press. Thus a decision on which depends the fate of many millions in the country has been taken in a jiffy by a government that does not even have a majority in Parliament.  The decision is thus without the authority of the Parliament, which is sovereign in the country. It is not at all clear by what legal authority has this government taken the decision.
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