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Law Minister Khurshid justifies government's meeting with its lawmakers

November 30, 2011 - New Delhi

With senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj taking a jibe at the UPA Government's meeting with its lawmakers, Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday said the meeting was held to explain the pros and cons of the cabinet's decision on FDI in multi-brand retail and its impact in the long term.

"These are very serious issues related to the economy of the country and there is need for everyone to understand this. It is at regular intervals that we sit together and discuss these issues. It was decided earlier that today Pranab Da (Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee) would tell all of us about the issues concerning the economy and he would have a detailed discussion on it. He would also tell us in the context of the steps that are being taken by the government and what is the long-term impact of those measures that have been taken," said Khurshid.

"It is after that we would be able to propagate and promote those measures so that the common man is not made to believe that the government had not taken any concrete step or there was lack of willpower on the part of the government. So all the important steps that have been taken by the government was put forward by him (Pranab Mukherjee) to all the MPs (lawmakers) in the meeting," he added.

Earlier, Sushma Swaraj had said on a social networking site that the government does not have a majority in the Parliament on FDI.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had on Tuesday said he would speak to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and thereafter, the government would decide how to resolve the impasse over allowing FDI in multi-brand retail.

Mukherjee had said that opposition leaders have suggested a rollback of the decision and a discussion in parliament on the issue under an adjournment motion.

"I informed them (Opposition leaders) that I will talk to the leadership-Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi. And thereafter, whatever decision government will take, you will come to know," he said.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, had on Tuesday defended the government's decision to approve 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail, and said that the policy is good for the economy and would bring jobs and technology to farmers.

Addressing a Youth Congress meet here, Dr. Singh said: "We didn't take the decision hastily. We have thought a lot and firmly believe that this decision will benefit us a lot."

"We have really considered it and believe it is for our best. It will get us modern technology, not let crops get damaged, get farmers good prices and bridge gaps," he added.

Last Thursday, the Cabinet approved 51 percent FDI in multi- brand retail, As per this move, many global retailers like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco can open outlets in India.

The Cabinet also decided to remove the 51 per cent cap on FDI in single brand format under which companies in food, lifestyle and sports business run stores. Owners of brands like Adidas, Gucci, Hermes, LVMH and Costa Coffee can have full ownership of business in India.


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