Business Standard, India
Oppn wants FTA with EU to be discussed in parliament
3 May 2013
By Gyan Verma, New Delhi
BJP, Left to come together on FTA with EU and foreign direct investment in multi brand retail
The main opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party and Left parties joined hands to demand that union government should discuss the crucial free trade agreement with European Union before a final decision is taken by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Both the opposition parties have decided to come together on free trade agreement (FTA) with European Union and foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi brand retail. The opposition parties admit that although they could stop FDI in multi brand retail in Parliament, they will start a nationwide agitation against the decision.
“FDI in multi brand retail and FTA with EU are the two crucial issues that brought all parties together. We didn’t win in Parliament but what is stopping is from going to people and start an agitation in every street of the country against the union government’s decision,” said Basudev Acharia, senior leader of Communist Party of India (Marxist), at a round table conference called by Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
Further, the opposition parties have also demanded that government should provide status report of all FTAs to the standing committee of commerce and there should be no delay in providing the details to the parliamentary committee.
The BJP leadership has already demanded that the union government must immediately call an all party meeting before the start of the monsoon session of Parliament to discuss FTAs, Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPA) and Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA).
“The chairman of standing committee on commerce has already written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing FTA with European Union yet the government wants to go ahead with the discussions. This decision will have an impact on all sectors, especially agriculture and dairy,” said Murli Manohar Joshi, senior leader of BJP who was also present at the CAIT meeting.
Senior leaders of the BJP accuse the government of holding proper consultations with all stake holders, including political parties and state governments before going ahead with the FTAs. BJP leaders want a debate in the Parliament to discuss the impact of FTAs signed by the government.
Although BJP leaders admit that it was the right of the union government to enter into agreements, senior leaders argued that it was the long standing demand of the BJP that’s issue related to national interest must be discussed in the Parliament.