Retail FDI on hold, Govt calls all-party meet

Amid growing opposition to its decision of allowing FDI in retail sector, the UPA government on Monday decided to put the issue on the back burner.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Amid growing opposition to its decision of allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector, the UPA government on Monday decided to put the issue on the back burner.

Highly-placed sources told Zee News that the government has decided to halt the implementation of the decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail and 100% FDI in single-brand retail for now.

An official announcement to this affect will be made in Parliament by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee when it meets next on Wednesday, reports said.

In a bid to buy peace in Parliament, the government has also convened an all-party meet at 9.30 am on Wednesday.

Moreover, sources said the government is mulling reworking its policy on allowing FDI in retail, amid opposition from not just the opposition parties but also from its allies - the DMK and the Trinamool Congress.

The development came after Pranab Mukherjee spoke to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, senior BJP leader LK Advani and CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury today.

Mukherjee is reported to have discussed with the three leaders the continuing logjam in Parliament, stressing it was sending a wrong signal to the nation. He is believed to have apprised the two leaders about the government’s decision of putting FDI in retail on hold.

Sources said Yechury told Mukherjee that the Left would not bring a no-confidence motion against the government now.

The BJP, on the other hand, had asked the government to call an all-party meet and make its stand clear. The BJP has also made it clear that it wants a rollback of the retail FDI decision, not just a `hold back`.

The decision to allow FDI in retail was taken by the Union Cabinet on November 24. And since the next day the Opposition has not allowed Parliament to function demanding a discussion on the issue under a rule that entails voting.

Following resistance from the opposition as well as its allies, the government had on November 30 delayed issuing notification regarding its decision on allowing FDI in retail.

The government had so far maintained that it was ready for a discussion on the issue in Parliament but not under adjournment motion that entails voting. The UPA had maintained that the decision was an executive one for which the government was not bound to seek approval from Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Congress has issued a whip directing all its MPs to be present in Parliament on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the Congress has called a meeting of its parliamentary board at 9.30 am. That meet will be chaired by Pranab Mukherjee.

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