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The BJP-led government on Wednesday approved 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in single-brand retail. Till 2014, when it was in Opposition, the BJP was vehemently against the idea of FDI. Earlier, FDI was 49% via direct mode and beyond that, government approval was necessary. After 100% FDI in single-brand retail, foreign companies can do business in India in the retail sector without government approval. The cabinet has also eased FDI rules for aviation and construction sectors, allowing foreign airlines to invest up to 49% in Air India under approved routes.
The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi. The centre said that this move will contribute to the growth of investment, income and employment and would lead to more significant FDI inflows. Earlier in 2016, the government had relaxed FDI rules in areas such as defence, civil aviation, construction and development, private security agencies, real estate and news broadcasting.
In 2012, BJP had opposed the overall idea of FDI, when the Congress government decided to allow FDI in multi-brand retail. Though the Congress was bringing 100% FDI in multi-brand retail, BJP and its ministers in speeches had opposed the whole idea of FDI in retail sector citing it will affect small businesses, farmers and manufacturing units.
There is nothing wrong in opposing something you don’t believe in. But if you strongly oppose a step by the government when in opposition but change your stance when in power, where does that leave the citizens? Before the 2014 elections, allowing FDI meant “selling the nation to foreigners”, according to the BJP. However, it now means a nationalist step and those who oppose it are against the nation’s growth and thus, anti-nationals. This also points to how people are being misled and their opinion swayed. The BJP’s biggest names opposed FDI, saying Congress is going to kill small businesses and the manufacturing sector but FDI for PM Modi is now the short form for “First Develop India”.
Congress is giving nation to foreigners. Most parties opposed FDI but due to sword of CBI, some didn't vote & Cong won through back door!
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 5, 2012
Did the PM mislead the nation before 2014 elections or is he misleading us now? Were his concerns for small businessmen and labourers genuine? Is 100% FDI that PM allowed yesterday going to kill the unorganised and the manufacturing sector?
“You will eventually have stores owned by the Americans, the French and the British—Selling Chinese products & India will become a nation of sales boys and sales girls—It will collapse your manufacturing sector,” said Finance Minister.
Have BJP’s worries related to farmers vanished as it came into power? Can the finance minister tell us how has the plight of farmers and small traders improved in the last 3 years that his stance has changed?
“International experience shows that retailers do predatory pricing, and once they come to India, they will reduce prices so that smaller shops get shut… and when the competition is over, they will raise prices and the consumers will have no option but to buy at high prices,” said Sushma Swaraj in a forceful speech. Read the full speech here.
From organising press conferences to organising protests, BJP did everything to get mileage out of Congress decision’s to allow FDI in multi-brand retail. BJP’s extension of Congress’ policy of FDI in single-brand retail from 49% to 100% is what Arun Shourie meant by BJP = Congress+Cow.
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