Opinion

Why did BJP change the stand on in 2009 elections for FDI?

I was a part of the three-member team that authored the Election Manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections of BJP under the Chairmanship of Dr.Murli Manohar Joshi, and I wrote the first draft of the critical policy document for BJP, after discussions with various stakeholders for the Indian Economy from across the world. I personally made over 100's of phone calls to people who had submitted their recommendations to BJP for the Lok Sabha elections manifesto, and people would have seen that BJP was the only party that not only incorporated the 'Aam Aadmi's aspirations, but have also struck to its commitment without any compromise.

I am reproducing the exact wordings for the Retail Trade as mentioned in the election manifesto of 2009 on page 23,

'BJP understands the critical importance of retail trade in the context of employment and services provided by them, and thus favors a dominant role for the unincorporated sector in retail trade. Towards this end, it will not allow foreign direct investment in retail sector. After agriculture, the retail sector is the largest employer of nearly four crore people.

We will:

1. Adopt all necessary measures to safeguard the interest of small and tiny retail vendors

2. Ensure availability of working capital needs for such vendors through credit at not more than four percent interest

3. Study the feasibility of slab-based 'Compound Tax' for traders to free them from needless harassment and end corruption

4. Set up an empowered committee to recommend welfare measures, including pension scheme, for small traders.

Today's Economic Times carries an interview of Shri Yashwant Sinha ji and there is a question 'The Government leadership, particularly the commerce minister, has said that BJP has shifted its policy on FDI in retail. And that the BJP is being opportunistic.

This is totally wrong question or statement from who-so-ever made it.

I wish to highlight a few facts that were there in 2002, and in 2008, the global order had changed. Please note the following

•   In 2002, the scene was different, when it came to global economies and India; USA was not taking about 'protectionism' but selling 'globalization'.

•   Full impact of globalization was clearly seen in the recession of 2008, and USA and Europe have clearly 'tilted' towards 'Protectionist' economic policies

•   Retail trade was just starting up to organize in India in 2002, and by 2008, most of the Indian retailers even had to re-organize due to heavy losses.

 So, clearly, as the only national party with interest of the 'Common Man' at heart, BJP took a cautious call to help its small Kirana stores, than bringing 1000's of foreign super markets to India at the cost of 12 million retailers! So the 2009 policy decision was the right decision for the nation and its 'Common Man', and those who say that BJP changed its stand, have forgotten the rule of 'market dynamics' and failed to keep their eyes open to the happenings across the world in the past seven years. A lot has changed in the first 10 years of this century, and a lot more will change in the next 10 years. It is imperative that we keep our heads low and overheads lower! BJP is the only party that can take this nation forward. Congress with all its USA / UK educated politicians can continue to sing the voice of their 'Real Masters' and take the economy to drain.

BJP's stand on FDI in retail is a pragmatic approach with change in market dynamics,  and has no politics attached to it , whereas, the  Congress is pushing FDI in retail for its failure to check corruption and control inflation, and keep away the Lok Pal bill from the parliament  - That is the politics of Congress !

May the good sense prevail in the Congress and it's so-called leadership!

About the author: Rajendra Pratap Gupta is a Contributing Editor for TradeBriefs. He can be reached at rajendra.india@gmail.com

 

 


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