Baba Ramdev criticizes government over retail reform

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 09, 2012 13:02 hrs

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Sunday expressed his distress over the UPA Government's second victory in parliament over the issue of allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

In the past week, the government secured majority votes in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the issue that was originally an executive decision. The vote was ordered under Rule 184 of the Rules of Business of Parliament.

Baba Ramdev said: "I want to say this to Congress that they should celebrate their victory in Indian parliament over FDI. I will protest, if Walmart comes to India and would not let these foreign companies to loot our country. We will also not allow the government to ruin the country's economy by allowing FDI."

He also added that he won't let foreign companies to loot India.

The UPA Government on Friday won a second parliament vote on allowing foreign supermarkets into the country, paving the way for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to press ahead with more reforms, including freeing up a cash-strapped insurance sector.

While the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament) vote was symbolic, the government's victory was a boost for its push to implement a controversial economic reform agenda seen as crucial to reviving growth and reducing a bloated fiscal deficit.

The government had already won a vote on retail reform in the Lok Sabha two days earlier. The policy will allow global retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc to set up shop in the country's $450 billion retail sector, and is aimed at drawing more overseas investment and taming inflation.

Congress leader Harish Rawat: "It is true that decisions taken in the Parliament are based on merit and voting. People also come over a decision on merit basis, parliamentarians take decisions on merit basis. The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha did hear the arguments of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), I think, it was not arguments but was a game plan. They wanted to show UPA government weak in the parliament in order to save their rule in Gujarat led by Narendra Modi. Secular parties got to know BJP's actual intentions and hence supported federal government over FDI (Foreign Direct Investment)."

Although both votes were non-binding, defeat would have piled pressure on Manmohan Singh to roll back the measure.

In Friday's vote BSP lawmakers voted with the government and SP deputies abstained, handing it a 123-109 victory after a debates punctuated by laughter and the occasional flare-up.

To be sure of its numbers, Congress brought one MP to parliament in a wheelchair and another on a hospital bed.

The government also aims to pass a Bill that paves the way for the Reserve Bank of India to issue new banking licences, as well as increase its regulatory powers over Indian banks.

India's economy is set to grow at its slowest pace in a decade in this fiscal year, and the government's overspending on subsidies on fuel and food has prompted global ratings agencies to warn of a downgrade.(ANI)

More from Sify: