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FDI: Highlights of the debate in Lok Sabha

New Delhi After debating the contentious issue of Foreign Direct Investment or FDI in multi-brand retail for two days, the Lok Sabha voted on the issue this evening, which went in favour of the UPA government after Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party walked out.

Highlights of the debate - Day 2:

Sushma Swaraj responds to Anand Sharma

  • The discussion has been detailed and fruitful.

  • 22 MPs participated in the debate - they represent 18 parties.

  • Of the 18, 14 parties spoke against FDI - and they did not oppose FDI lightly.

  • Kapil Sibal's speech yesterday was fraught with contradictions - he was conflicted.

  • His constituency - Chandni Chowk - is opposed to FDI and the govt he was defending is in favour.

  • Kabhi boond ke idhar aur kabhi udhar - bach bach ke chal rahe the (quotes from Sibal's speech)

  • Sibal says where will they set up shop in Delhi, but the Delhi Chief Minister from his party says the first store will be set up in the city.

  • They say it will benefit farmers -- but in his speech said 'no one will go to WalMart on cycles or two wheelers. Which consumer are you talking about who will be benefitted - those in big cars?

  • WalMart was in loss till 2008. India's economy is in doldrums. So I want to ask, how will this relationship help each other?

  • To Lalu Yadav's couplet: Aap ko gathey khol na nahin aata aur maskari ke alwa aap ko kuch bolna nahin aata.

  • On Deepender Hooda - I was looking forward to the speech since he is from my state. But he was so excited that he promised McDonald's that he'll grow a two-feet-long potato. Kisan ke bete ho, pehle aloo aur lauki ka farq toh samajh lo.

  • Mr Antony, a senior member in the cabinet is opposed to it. Their Kerala unit is opposed to it. Yesterday, I met Shashi Tharoor and he said he had been asked not to speak in support.

  • Those who spoke in support, their numbers add up to 282, and those who spoke in support are 224.

  • The walls which have echoed with the speeches will have the results of the vote plastered on them - I want it to be known to posterity who said what and then what they did.

  • I wanted that everyone should have walked their talk... How vociferously Mulayamji opposed FDI. If he had voted with us, FDI would not have been implemented.

  • It is not a question of BJP, this is not a communal issue... But the problem is the issue has now become FDI vs CBI... so which is closer...

  • When BSP wants support, they come to us and then we aren't communal. This dichotomy won't work.

Union Minister Anand Sharma intervenes before voting on the motion.
  • This was not an overnight decision. It is important to understand the context of the decision.

  • We do not have the requisite infrastructure to manage our produce. Farmers suffer due to lack on infrastructure.

  • The BJP asked us why we changed our stand. Our question on why they changed their stand is equally pertinent.

  • In Nov 2001, the GoM constituted by BJP on FDI in retail met (quotes from GoM papers).
    I congratulate my friends from the BJP that back then they remembered to take Haldiram and Bikanerwala into consideration.

  • McDonald's came to India and started making aloo tikki - after all Indians would not let go of their palate.

  • But equally important is the fact that Haldiram's now has 38 stores worldwide, including three in London. Bikarnerwala is a Rs 1000-crore company with 85 stores across the world.

  • (Yashwant Sinha responds angrily to the Commerce Minister's charges - says not important what the GoM debated upon but when the decision was taken)

  • Anand Sharma continues: I have said discussions include all the states and all political parties.

  • I acknowledge that if the govt went back on an assurance made in Parliament then that is a very serious charge but that is far from the truth.

  • I have written to leaders of all political parties in both houses. I applaud Mr Basudeb Acharia, who said yesterday that the Commerce Minister wrote to us but he did not agree with our position.

  • After December 7, we spoke to farmers' bodies again. 12 such bodies were called and what they said we have in writing - I'll lay that in Parliament today. Consumer forums were also called and consulted - 17 of them and six bodies of food processing industries gave us their views in writing.

  • We also sent letters to all chief Minsters...Secretary DIPP wrote to all states - 21 states responded and I have responses of 14 CMs in writing. Of the 21 states, 11 were in favour, seven opposed and 3 states asked for further clarifications.

  • No one can tell an elected government what to choose and what not to. We have a guiding policy, it is up to the states to accept or not accept.

  • On December 7, Mr Nitin Gadkari lunched with Mr Pranab Mukherjee and after that said the BJP would oppose it. CPM politburo, Left parties also said they were opposed to it - I have a letter from four months ago.

  • I met Naveen Patnaik, Parkash Singh Badal... are they not political leaders? Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results is the definition of crazy.

  • Sushmaji asked what has changed - what has changed is that this time implicitly, explicitly we have said that it is for the states to decide.

  • Farooq Abdullah, the Uttarakhand CM and Tarun Gogoi asked me why the small landlocked states were kept out by the 10 lakh population clause - we made a special dispensation for them.

  • Consensus ka matlab aam sehmati, sarva sammati nahi. If you have to wait for unanimity, you wait till eternity.

Deepender Hooda, Congress

  • Sushmaji spoke of being from Ambala but I think she has not been to Ambala in quite some time. There are kirana stores that co-exist with multi-brand retail chains. There are at least 15 stores run by Reliance, Easy Day etc.

  • I know FDI will not solve all the problems of farmers, but it gives them an option. I am the son for a farmer, I understand their problems.

  • Do not underestimate the farmer of India - they are not fools, they will sell to the person who gives them the best price.

  • You glorified the "aratiya" - they are not like ATMs - they lend money not on trust but on interest, at rates comparable to international credit cards.

  • You try and make this 'traditional ATM' your mascot in 2014 and the people of this country will let you know what they think.

  • We found out where McDonald's buys its potatoes from - most come from Gujarat. That state has the most McDonald's stores.

  • Even McDonald's was shocked at what Sushmaji said and came out with a press statement to say they buy most potatoes from India.

  • Once the potatoes are harvested, maybe for my friends from BJP, they become American.

  • Raises the issue of the Purti group running a multi-brand chain.

Lalu Yadav, RJD

  • BJP wanted FDI in 2002. How have you changed your stand - you supported 100% FDI in retail in 2004 and now Joshiji says - videshi, videshi. How much does your watch cost? (to a quip how much does yours) I have no watch, I have no cell phone; they have theirs close to their hearts and when a phone call comes, you'd see them run a 100-metre dash.

  • The BJP leaders invoke Mahatma Gandhi here - he rode in the 3rd class compartment in trains and BJP leaders want coupes reserved.

  • With FDI, the farmer will get money straight and middlemen will be done away with.

  • There is no compulsion on states to implement FDI.

  • Mr Sibal was not able to say eloquently what he wanted to convey - the stores will not open in the middle of Delhi. They need lakhs of square feet.

  • Nescafe peene walon, poocho Advani ji se twitter ka istemal kyun kartein hain, woh videshi nahi hain kya?

  • Mohabbat mein tumhe ansoon bahane nahin ata... Banaras aake Banaras ka paan khana nahin aata?

Murli Manohar Joshi, BJP

  • If FDI is so beneficial for the country, why the concessions? Implement it all over the country.

  • (To the govt) Aap ki gardanein aap katwaye, desh ki gardan mat kaatiye.

  • Till Pranab babu, who is now the honourable President, there was no movement on FDI. As soon as the new FM took over, everything transformed at a super-fast speed.

  • (Explains the BJP's stand on FDI in retail) BJP said it did not support FDI in retail. We never favoured a dominant role of 'unincorporated sector' - why do you put your words in our manifesto? This is the magic of your being a lawyer.

  • Let us concede - we'll tell you why we changed our stand, but why did you change your stand? We know whatever little there was in the NDA document was wrong, why don't you accept you are wrong? How has what was anti-national suddenly become national?

  • (Rebutting Kapil Sibal) You had said that PepsiCo has an agreement to procure potatoes from 10,000 farmers now as opposed to 1,800 when they started off in 2010. Cultivation is happening in 7,000 acres now compared to 5,500 acres in 2010.

  • You call this beneficial? It is far from that. This is what we call 'monopoly farming', where a foreign company monopolises even agriculture in our country.

  • Pre-pricing of farm produce will lead to exploitation of farmers. Big corporates and small farmers cannot co-exist in the sector.

  • WalMart will  not increase competition; it will destroy markets that are already very competitive.

Lalu Yadav, RJD

There was uproar from BJP MPs as RJD chief Lalu Yadav rose to spoke and called them jamhoora. BJP members said Mr Yadav had used unparliamentary language. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath's intervention did not help. Mr Yadav said jamhoora meant a player and questioned why it was being termed unparliamentary. Soon he and BJP MPs were locked in a verbal duel, leading to adjournment of the House. (Read)

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal

  • FDI policy is bartering away the interest of its own people and country. This policy will not provide employment but end the livelihood of crores of people. (Shouts from the govt benches as the Chair urges Ms Kaur to continue)

  • Yeh toh madam ko khush karne ke liye bol rahe hain lekin Punjab se toh inka safaya ho gaya. (Congress MPs from Punjab continue to oppose her)

  • Quotes ICAR - wastage due to rotting only 0.8%, so should we believe what Mr Sibal said?

  • In case of natural calamities, will foreign companies compensate farmers or use that as an excuse to reject our produce and import?

  • Aaj holi ke gubbare se lekar Diwali ke patakho tak sab China se aate hain. FDI se humara manufacturing bilkul hee khatan ho jayega.

Gurudas Dasgupta, Communist Party of India

  • For the cause of WalMart, the PM of a country of 120 crore people is ready to sacrifice the government. Is it so important?

  • Mr Sibal said look at the state of the economy. After that Mr Chidambaram must've looked at him, so he changed the subject... but that is the question.

  • The economic condition is very grim; the govt has not come clean to Parliament. GDP is at 5.3%.

  • Where has the country gone to? Investments have dropped. Employment generation is minimum.

  • Who is responsible? You are in power for nine years - it is a fiasco caused by your policies.

  • Govt believes FDI can rescue India's economy.

  • FDi in retail not an end, it is a signal to MNCs - make India the most favoured destination. But is it the right strategy? Over-dependence on foreign funds when India is hit by sky-high inflation of food products?

  • There is a pressure of MNCs on the government. MNCs want India to open up because all over the world there is a crisis and they want new markets.

  • Barack Obama is a supporter of small retailers in his own country but lobbying for WalMart in India - that is a paradox.

M Thambidurai, AIADMK

  • The Congress is trying to implement FDI despite knowing this is not accepted by the people.
  • The BJP had it in the 2004 manifesto, look what happened to them.
  • The Congress used to say we want swadeshi but now they want videshi. They are boycotting swadeshi. Don't encourage WalMart to come and catch our market.
  • Why is the DMK supporting FDI here and opposing it there? Is Tamil Nadu in Sri Lanka?

Praful Patel, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)

  • FDI in retail will not hurt local markets.

  • Is the potato in McDonald's aloo tikki burger imported?

  • We must weigh the pros and cons of FDI as none wants farmers and local traders to be affected.

  • But there should be no fear-mongering that money from abroad will colonise India, like the East India Company.

  • Why do we doubt our capability? The largest exporter of cut roses in the world is in Bangalore, not Holland.

  • We must acknowledge the losses in agricultural produce -- almost Rs 50,000 crore each year.

  • Why should we be so scared of FDI? Who knows, one day even Indian retail giants might expand to give the foreign brands stiff competition.

Sharad Yadav, Janata Dal (United)

  • In the last winter session, Trinamool Congress helped us block FDI.

  • What Kapil Sibal said yesterday was nothing but the truth -- what he says is understood only in North and South Block and limited sections in Delhi... so he chose to speak in Hindi.

  • The small traders in India add 12.4% to the GDP, do not survive on the government's money and achieve that through hard work.

  • How will a man on a cycle or scooter go to Tesco? We have divided the country into two parts - one you are worried about, the share markets - the economy... the govt should bother about GDP but do not forget that there is a 5000-year-old market, civilization in India.

  • Today the yardstick is GDP or how the rupee is doing against the dollar.

  • If we wanted to pull down the govt, we could have backed the Trinamool Congress-sponsored no-confidence motion but we didn't.

  • You said we want to sit there... haan hai hamari iccha par aap ki iccha nahi hain kya.. aap kya khaat pe baithe hain... hum najayaz tarike se nahee baithna chahtey hain... ye Kalyan Banerjee (of Trinamool Congress) sirf apna hi kalyan karna chahta tha.

  • You have led a few to prosperity and for those you want WalMart in India. WalMart is not coming to serve the people of India. I am not against market forces but this is not the way.
    You said people with a car will go there - you give subsidy to those who travel in SUVs... diesel subsidy is not just for farmers.

  • You can win this battle but we will win the war ultimately.

  • You reminded us of our misdemeanours -- see what happened. Sushma Swaraj is sitting in opposition, LK Advaniji was Deputy PM, he is on this side.

  • Take FDI back. Let us not have a vote. Otherwise the people of India will make you pay. Remember what Mulayam Singh was telling you yesterday.

  • Why are we bent on squandering our resources? Iron ore aapne mitti ke daam nahi, phokat mein bech diya.

  • Why don't you think of the human resources in this country? Why are there curbs on Indians working in other countries?

  • If the people vote for us, we will come there, otherwise again we'll come back here (in opposition). We've been here for many years.

  • History will not forget you if you remain adamant.

Basudeb Acharia, Communist Party of India (Marxist)

  • We are not opposing FDI for the sake of it. Our stand has been consistent. The Congress's stand hasn't been. Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi had in this House said FDI in retail is anti-national.

  • Mr Sibal, you said the farmers will be benefitted. The situation in the country today is that there is a wide variation between the farm price and consumer price. Your policies are responsible for it. International experience shows that with FDI neither farmers will get their due nor will consumers benefit. There will be monopolisation.

  • A report from ICAR says post-harvest losses not more that 1%... you are exaggerating the losses. Who is responsible if there are no cold storage facilities in this country? Will WalMart make cold storages in India, rural roads linking villages? They will not invest in infrastructure that benefits Indian farmers.

  • FDI in retail is not in the interest of farmers and the retail sector. FDI cannot address the problems in Indian agriculture.

  • We will not allow WalMart to set foot in India.

Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav to NDTV (ahead of voting)

  • We can't vote in favour of the proposal of FDI. Mulayam Singh clearly said yesterday in the House that the Samajwadi Party is not in favour of FDI. There are only two options to show our opposition: either abstain or vote against the government and we will decide after the government's reply in the House.


Highlights of the debate - Day 1:

FDI in retail is death knell for small industries: Sushma Swaraj | Rate her speech here

  • We had asked when you use stakeholders, what does that mean? Leader of the House had said it means the chief ministers of states and other constituents in the states and political parties. (Watch)

  • Sushma quotes from Pranab Mukherjee's statement in the House while suspending the decision on FDI.

  • I thank the PM that the government bowed to popular demand.

  • There were two aspects to the assurances in Parliament - consensus and consultation. But far from any effort at consensus, there was no effort at consultation.

  • We are the main opposition party; we were not taken into confidence.

  • I was shocked and called Advaniji. I asked him whether in all his years in Parliament he had seen such a violation of assurances made on the floor of the House. Advaniji said this was a case of  violation of privileges.

  • The retailers will now resort to predatory pricing - first wipe out the competition at low rates and then when the consumer has no choice sell at high prices.

  • The other argument is FDI will benefit farmers - they never reduce profits. Look at the international experience. They pay farmers less, employees less. I have a declaration from the EU Parliament here - "large supermarkets are abusing their buying power."

  • In our country a successful cooperative like Amul has opposed FDI - their president has said the so-called benefits accrue to large retailers who drive down the prices.

  • Cites instances of how potato farmers are forced to throw their potatoes away while McDonald's imports the potatoes it uses.

  • They say this will end the middle-man system. There are instances where there are no middlemen in India. For example, in the sugar sector, the sugarcane farmers are contracted by sugar mills to sell their produce directly to the mills.

  • There may be many faults in our rural market (aarat) system that need fixing. But there is a bond of trust between the farmer and the traders in the market and that cannot be denied.

  • (More disruptions as the Speaker appeals for calm...) Someone who knows the rural system knows that the trader is the farmer's traditional ATM... bank ATMs have made an appearance recently...

  • When FDI comes in, who will buy from the farmers directly? There will be new middlemen. Do you want foreign middlemen? To say that middlemen will no longer exist is totally wrong. (More disruptions - Speaker stands up, appeals for calm)

  • The government's third claim is that FDI will provide employment. The Commerce Minister says 40 lakh people will be directly employed. WalMart has 21 lakh employees worldwide. Their largest store has 214 employees. At this rate they have to open 18,000 stores in India. For Tesco or Carrefour, it is lesser; so there are 36,000 stores that need to be opened in 53 cities - that is 600 stores per city.

  • 30% has to be sourced locally. Will that not hit local trade? Can any company run on 30% capacity. From what they import, 90% will be from China. Factories will open in China and your industry will be finished.

  • Under GATT and WTO guidelines, this is not implantable...We have reciprocal arrangements with 82 countries. So how can we procure even 30% locally?

  • Cites Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi's calling attention motion when the NDA was in power and how the Congress was then opposed to FDI.

  • I ask the PM: your Chief Whip called it anti-national. So how have the circumstances changed now? Why has your viewpoint changed?

  • Cites report on WalMart investigating corrupt practices and suspension of India CFO Pankaj Madan.

  • I fear if this decision borne out of corruption.

  • Soniaji asked in a recent rally if India had seen any government that brought about so much development in such a short span of time... I did not understand who she was comparing herself too... We have been in power for six years. The Congress has been in power for 50, and of those over 30 years have been led by the Nehru-Gandhi family.

  • Yeh sarkar vikaas ki seedhi nahi, vinaash kar gaddha hai.

  • PM makes bold statements - if we must go down, we will go down fighting. You must go down fighting Mr PM but fight for the poor not the rich, for the country not MNCs. Fight for your own and we will stand with you.

  • Aapko harakar jeet darj nahi karna chate hain, manakar jeet darj karna chahte hain.

  • We are not against FDI per se, but not in retail.

  • If the government does not take the decision back, I appeal to my colleagues here to vote with us and defeat FDI. The government will not fall if they lose the vote.

  • Whoever wants to enter the retail sector through FDI will have to invest 100 million dollars - and half of that in back-end infrastructure... and that will have to be done in three years.

Saugata Roy (Trinamool Congress) | Rate his speech here

  • I come from Bengal, where Siraj-ud-daulah lost the Battle of Plassey. Quoting Tagore, I can say, 'they came as traders and became kings'. Does America want to do that too?

  • Mr Khurshid is a sensitive man. Positively sensitive about Hillary Clinton and negatively sensitive about Arvind Kejriwal.

  • The argument of FDI is a discourse of colonialism. Just for tickling middle class families who can say that 'I go to WalMart' , do not finish the small kirana shops which have stood the test of time.

  • It is very difficult to make a speech after Sushma ji's flowery Hindi but I'll still make an attempt.

  • For us FDI is a matter of faith. When we moved the no-confidence motion against the government on this issue, no one stood with us...

FDI in retail in favour of farmers, says Kapil Sibal | Rate his speech here

  • The government decided that FDI will be allowed in cities with a population of more than 10 lakhs - there are only 53 cities that meet this criteria. (Watch Kapil Sibal's speech)

  • Then we were told by certain, especially Opposition ruled states, who did not want FDI in retail in those states.  If you exclude these, only 18 cities remain...

  • So if FDI is implemented in 18 cities, it is an exaggeration to say the country will be sold, WalMart will occupy the country and so on...

  • I do not understand the point of this discussion.... If states don't want to implement FDI in retail, let them not.

  • But how can the Opposition stop CMs who want to implement FDI in retail. How is that constitutional?

  • Yeh kaunsi rajneeti hai? Hum toh doobenge sanam, tunko bhi le doobenge...

  • In 2004, the BJP said in its vision document supported FDI in retail.  Mr Jaswant Singh said on April 12, 2004 - it is part of our agenda and we are committed to it. Many said KFC will drive the dhabas out of the market. Dhabas have driven out KFC. Don't underestimate Indian brands...

  • Now that you are  not in power  you have changed your stance. (Sibal also cites from BJP's 2009 manifesto - which said Foreign investment in unincorporated sector in retail trade) How ill that foreign investment come in? Please tell us...

  • In West Bengal, Pepsico buys 60,000 metric tonnes of potatoes from farmers - they have agreements with 10,000 farmers and area under cultivation is 7000 acres. So you are in West Bengal doing what you oppose here.

  • (In response to Sushma Swaraj's defence of the arath system) It is a shame that she supported money lenders...

  • 80 million tonnes  of fruits and vegetables each year go to waste due to lack of storage facilities.

  • Farmers get only 15-17 per cent of the value of produce. The Opposition needs to decide whether they are with the farmers or the middlemen. Farmers will get paid more, get their money on time, get technology, has an assured market...

  • Source of 30 per cent of goods sold shall be from medium and small scale enterprises - that is the policy.

  • (Sibal trains his sights on the Left) These people who oppose us have hired Ernst & Young to attract FDI.

  • They say something and do something else.

  • Let me now turn to the Left who have been opposing this most vociferously - Yechuryji was sharing the stage the other day with Sushmaji and Arunji. (Cites from a 2004 statement of Mr Yechury)

  • Look at our pharma sector and our automobile sector - there was so much Opposition... but look at those sectors today.

  • The country does not know your neeti (policy) but knows your neeyat (intention).

  • India has not undertaken any commitment under GATT - very sad that being Sushma Swaraj being leader of the Opposition does not have the full details...

  • FDI is a pre-establishment instrument - not covered under bilateral agreements.

  • When Sushmaji speaks, she speaks so well that she thinks whatever she says is right.

  • Look at the economy if this country - in next eight years urban population will grow by 125 million. We need to give the youth jobs, manufacturing needs to be encouraged. Last year, 71 per cent FDI in manufacturing sector... people are coming from China to India where efficiency has grown 17 per cent and there has been no rise in wages.

  • So who will buy from WalMart - the 30 crore who constitute India's middle, upper middle class - people who drive around in cars.

  • And Sushmaji I don't know why you are opposing? You come from a multi-brand party... there is good competition between brands and Sushmaji competition is good for you...

  • If IKEA makes furniture in India, will they import the wood... 90% of products sold in global chains are sourced locally.

  • We make our policies looking at our young. Our policies are not governed by whether we sit on this side or that side... When you look at us, you look at these seats and when you would come on this side. When we look at you, we look beyond you, at the people of this country.

FDI will increase unemployment: Mulayam Singh | Rate his speech here

  • We had opposed Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The potato production in this country has not gone up because of them but due to the Indian farmer. (Watch his speech)

  • No matter what you say, FDI is not in the interests of India.
    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.

  • We are helping you. If you are making mistake, we must tell you that.

  • 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.

  • We are small parties... you say they are with someone, they say you are with others - this is kushti between the main parties.

  • When Gandhiji set fire to foreign cloth, he said this was to benefit Indian weavers. I request Soniaji - there is Gandhi in your name... remember what he said... You are forgetting Swadeshi and getting in Videshi.
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