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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Retail FDI Suspended to Let Parliament Work!


Finally Indian industrial and agricultural interests lost out to the political ones today. Cornered and forced by opposition political parties including lobbies in the ruling coalition the government of India had to suspend its decision of allowing 51% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Indian retail sector.

The winter session of the Indian Parliament had been stalled for nine days out of which fives days were lost because of the FDI decision. Today morning the government called for an all party meeting on the burning issue and decided to suspend it on reaching consensus. The opposition parties called it victory for democracy. And, the Indian Parliament was allowed to function normally from today. Very forceful democracy indeed!

Ironically, the industrial and agricultural experts welcomed the government’s decision of allowing retail FDI pointing out the benefits of more employment, availability of goods at cheaper rates for the consumers and the long run favorable impact on the inflation rate. Farmers of different parts of the country had also extended support to the policy because of the inherent benefit of selling their produce directly to the multinational buyers. Some of them also gave a healthy condition that at least 75% of farmers’ produce must be bought directly by the firms.If such people are not part of the 'democracy' then who are?

This leads to the vested interests that dominate Indian politics all the time every time. The extensive networks of middlemen who buy farmers’ produce at ridiculously cheap rates and sell those in multiples of that to the consumers just cannot afford to lose out. The call for a Bharat Bandh was basically a reflection of these vested interests. Nobody wanted to understand the economics of it and about how their ‘democratic’ country’s future development could get a boost.

Okay, let us thank the opposition political parties for their kindness to allow Parliament to function on its tenth day of the session! How they relish and savor their sweet democracy!  Hats off to them! But wait a minute, this is indeed a plus considering the fact that the anti-corruption Bill was to be presented in this session only.

Now the clock ticks for the presentation of the Bill on December 9, 2011. Let us hope politics does not dominate the process again to work it out in favor of the eternal vested interests.

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