Debating India

CPI(M) to oppose FDI hike

Sunday 11 July 2004

New Delhi: CPI(M) will oppose hike in foreign direct investment limits in insurance, telecom and civil aviation and the passage of the Finance Bill in Parliament.

"We are against privatisation and we will oppose it in Parliament," party leader M K Pandhe told reporters after a meeting of CPI(M) Polit Bureau in New Delhi. CPI(M) was not consulted on the FDI hike in telecom, aviation and insurance sectors, Pandhe, a member of the Polit Bureau, said.|Discuss: FDI hike will result in India succumbing to international pressures further |

He said the party would oppose passage of the Finance Bill in Parliament.

Hike in FDI limit in the insurance sector would require amendments in Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) Act.

"Our Party is firm and we will oppose it at all levels. If the bill (to amend IRDA Act) comes up, we will oppose it. That is our stand," Pandhe said.

The Union Budget for 2004-05, presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram on July 8, proposed hike in FDI limit in telecom from 49 to 74 per cent, civil aviation from 40 to 49 per cent and insurance from 26 to 49 per cent.

However, another Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechuri parried a question whether the party would oppose the Finance Bill.

"There will be discussions with the government on what kind of amendments are required in the Finance Bill," he told reporters during the inter session period of the meeting.

Earlier, Pandhe said "our party has already made it clear that we never accepted such increase in FDI."

"In no country in the world, is more that 25 per cent of FDI in telecom sector is given to foreign companies but our decision to give complete control in telecom sector is totally anti-national and our party can never support this," he said.

Similarly, FDI hike in insurance and aviation will not be supported by CPI(M), he said.

Asked whether they would bring a cut motion in Parliament, Pandhe said "we never said we will not move cut motions. Some other people may have said that. If you have to oppose certain things, cut motion is one of the methods. So our Parliamentary party will consider this aspect and take steps." Pandhe, however, did not rule out a dialogue with UPA partners asking them to reconsider the decision.

"Of course that is one method we have decided. We will tell the UPA, including the leadership, that these are our concerns and government must take them into account," he said.

"Without our support, the government cannot keep its majority. The government will have to listen to us also. They will have to roll back certain things they announced in Parliament if they want our support," the CPI(M) leader said.

"We will adopt both paths, appealing to them and talking to them, and at the same time mobilising masses to support our party’ stand," Pandhe said.

Referring to the Common Minimum Programme which was silent on hiking FDI limits, he said "unless they stick to CMP, the unity (among alliance parties) may be posing a number of difficulties."

P.S.

in "Sify News", Sunday, July 11, 2004.

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