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India allows talks on FDI in retail sector

Publication Date : 30-11-2012


The four-day logjam in Indian parliament over foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector ended yesterday with the presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha -- the lower and the upper house of the parliament -- deciding to allow separate discussions on the subject under a rule that entails voting.

“I have received 30 notices for discussion on FDI in multi-brand retail under Rule 184 (which entails voting). I have admitted the motion to allow the discussion. The date and the time will be decided later,” Meira Kumar, speaker of Lok Sabha, announced in the House yesterday.

Her remarks came soon after Sushilkumar Shinde, leader of the House; Kamal Nath, parliamentary affairs minister, and Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition, met her in her chamber before the House met for the day.

Md Hamid Ansari, Rajya Sabha chairman and Indian vice president, also admitted notices for a discussion in the upper House on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail under a rule that entails voting.

Confident of its numerical strength, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had given enough hints on Wednesday that it has no problem in having a discussion on FDI under a rule that entails voting after Nath consulted Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley.

Asked whether the government opposed voting as it lacked the numbers in parliament, Nath said: “I have always maintained that we have the numbers.”

Welcoming the speaker's decision yesterday, Swaraj assured Meira Kumar that the House will function smoothly.

Although a vote against FDI in retail in Indian parliament would not lead to fall of the government, it will be a big setback to the major economic reform measure.


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