New Delhi: Criticising government's decision to introduce FDI in multi-brand retail, BJP and CPI on Thursday rejected its claims that foreign investment will benefit farmers by eliminating middlemen and providing a direct access to the market.

CPI leader D Raja also attacked government for going back on its assurance to hold consultations with all stakeholders including Chief Minister of states before introducing FDI.

Addressing a ASSOCHAM conference on retail, Raja and BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman also insisted on holding an "inclusive" debate in Parliament, so that "government could explain the mechanism it has set up to ensure that FDI in retail will benefit farmers and empower them".

"Economy largely consist of agriculture, manufacturing and services. FDI in retail will impact all these three sectors... Why did not government hold an inclusive debate in Parliament before introducing it. They could have set up a committee to study the issue," Sitharaman said.

Observing that FDI in retail is different from similar foreign investments in insurance and pension, she said, "The so called growth driven planning of this government is not generating employment. This FDI will slowly but surely eliminate self employed people such as traders and those in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)."

Accusing the government of betraying Parliament-  the supreme institution in a democracy-, Raja said it had assured a debate in the House over the issue.

"When the FDI issue came, there was an uproar in Parliament and the then Finance Minister had assured consultations with all stakeholders including Chief Ministers. Now what happened to that assurance given in Parliament...This government had betrayed and violated its own assurance, " he said. Rejecting the argument that FDI in retail will create more jobs, Raja said it will first "eat away 15 to 20 percent jobs" adversely impacting small and medium scale traders.

"We are not living in an era free of competition. But FDI is a monopolistic competition. It is a dictated competition. A few giants will dictate prices and will dictate farmers as well as what crops they should grow," Raja said.

He said his party will appreciate if FDI is introduced in areas which will provide the country with advance technologies and generate more employment.

"But FDI in retail will jeopardises our potential and threatens our sovereignty. We oppose it and disapprove the policies of the government in this regard," he said.

The communist leader also said that Left Parties will raise the issue in Parliament as well as outside it.


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