New Delhi: In a Parliament debate on allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj hit out at the government for not attempting to create a consensus on the matter.
Taking on the sourcing policies of McDonald's & PepsiCo in Lok Sabha, Swaraj said, "Ask McDonald's about their fries. They never buy potatoes from local Indian farmers, saying the potatoes are too small here." Watch: Sushma says FDI will harm farmers and consumers | Retail FDI in favour of farmers, says Sibal | FDI will increase unemployment, says Mulayam Singh | Pros and cons of FDI in retail
Swaraj said that MNCs will very easily give assurances on FDI but will not stick to them. "Wal-Mart employs maximum of 214 people per store. In this scenario how will 40 lakh be employed in these retail stores?" asked Swaraj.
Sushma Swaraj read out from a letter of Manmohan Singh, which he wrote as the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha assuring against FDI in retail. "Then Congress chief whip in Lok Sabha Priyaranjan Dasmunshi called FDI in retail anti-national. Why so change of heart now, Mr PM?" asked Sushma.
According to Swaraj, FDI in retail will create a 'monopolistic set up'. "We women go shopping and know that small shopkeepers give us a good deal, we don't get cheated. Big monopolies cheat," she argued. "Competition is always in the interest of the consumers, monopoly is not," she added.
Swaraj said that 90 per cent products sold will be made in China and there will be employment for Chinese. "In India crores will be out of work; there will be dark homes and shiny malls," added Swaraj.
Defending FDI in multi-brand retail, communications minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said the move would benefit the farmers and accused the opposition of siding with middlemen.
Participating in a debate in the Lok Sabha on FDI in multi-brand retail, Sibal also argued that the debate was not needed and was just political in nature.
"The purpose of the policy is that the farmer should get a higher price than he gets in the mandi (market)," he said.
"Only 15 to 17 per cent of the market price goes to the farmer. Opposition leaders should decide whether they are with the farmer or with the middleman... We are with the farmer and consumer... you are with the middleman," Sibal said.
Highlights of Sushma Swaraj's speech:
- BJP against clubbing of FDI and FEMA rules.
- Uproar in Lok Sabha, Kamal Nath says opposition running away from vote.
- BJP wants debate on FEMA amendments separately.
- Combined discussion under Rule 184 on FDI in retail: Speaker Meira Kumar.
- Sushma Swaraj moves the motion on FDI in retail.
- Govt did not consult in building consensus on FDI with us.
- Competition is in the interest of consumers, monopolies are not: Sushma Swaraj.
- Multi-brand retailers will sell at low prices, but will give less salaries to their employees and buy at cheaper prices from farmers: Sushma Swaraj.
- These companies never compromise with their profit margins: Sushma Swaraj.
- Co-operatives like Amul against FDI in retail: Sushma Swaraj.
- McDonalds never buys potatoes from local Indian farmers, they say the size of potatoes are very small here: Sushma Swaraj.
- If one single apple is affected with bacteria, then the entire truck is sent back to the farmer by these retailers: Sushma Swaraj.
- Fight for the poor and not for the rich. We will back you if you do so: Sushma Swaraj to PM Manmohan.
- When US is trying to save small businesses then why are we trying to overthrow the ones existing in India: Sushma Swaraj.
- We don't need FDI in retail to sell our rice and dal: Sushma Swaraj.
Main highlights of Kapil Sibal's speech:
- Not mandatory for all states to implement multi-brand retail FDI: Kapil Sibal.
- It is wrong to say that foreign retailers will ruin the Indian economy: Kapil Sibal.
- Debate on FDI in retail was not necessary at all, says Kapil Sibal.
- It is foolish to say presence of foreign retails' will kill small retailers in Indian cities: Kapil Sibal.
- Strict conditions have been imposed for foreign retail chains to open shops: Sibal.
- FDI provisions mandate compulsory investment of $100 million for foreign retailers to do business in India: Sibal.
- FDI provisions mandate investment of $50 million for back end infrastructure: Sibal.
- NDA minister Murasoli Maran advocated FDI in retail in 2002 in a note for GoM: Sibal.
- Kapil Sibal hits out at opposition, says BJP promised FDI in retail in its 2004 manifesto.
- Bengal allows PepsiCo to directly deal with 10,000 farmers and buy 60,000 tonnes of potato every year. Why Left and TMC opposing FDI: Sibal.
- Opposition seems to be more with middle men and money lenders, they don't want big companies to make direct payments to farmers: Sibal.
- Purpose of the policy is to provide a better price to farmers for their produce, FDI will cut wastage of fruits and vegetables: Sibal.
- BJP was for FDI in retail in 2004 but changed their way after their India Shining campaign failed: Sibal.
- BJP must explain why they changed their stand on FDI, asks Kapil Sibal.
- Opposition is exaggerating evils of FDI in retail: Kapil Sibal.
- Look at our pharma sector and our automobile sector - there was so much opposition... but look at those sectors today: Sibal.
- Farmers will get paid more, get their money on time, get technology, has an assured market: Sibal.
- BJP is a multi-brand party (read several power centers) and Left is Foreign Direct Ideology: Sibal.
Main highlights of Mulayam Singh Yadav's speech:
- FDI in retail will not benefit the farmers of the country: Mulayam Singh Yadav.
- FDI in retail is not in the interest of the country, farmers have been ignored in FDI policy: Mulayam Singh Yadav.
- We are opposed to multi-brand retail FDI: SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
- Foreign multinationals have not helped to improve produce: Mulayam.
- FDI policy will fuel unemployment in the entire country: Mulayam.
- We advise the UPA government to drop plans to allow FDI in multi-brand retail: Mulayam.
- I tell you, take back the FDI... if it was beneficial, why is there opposition to it in America? There are no big stores in New York today: Mulayam.
- No matter what you say, FDI is not in the interests of India: Mulayam.
- There are five crore small traders who are self-employed... five people to a family and 20-25 crore people will be unemployed if FDI in retail is introduced: Mulayam.