New Delhi, Sept. 26: Union commerce minister Anand Sharma today said the BJP’s threat to potential investors was “appalling” as foreign players would come in response to the extant policy made by the Republic of India and set up businesses after taking statutory clearances.
“We are shocked the BJP is trying to scare away potential investors at a time when the nation is facing serious challenges,” he told a media conference.
Sharma said India was signatory to several international treaties that provided protection to investors and any reversal of policy would attract legal consequences.
“No government can do it. The BJP knows it but they are showing cynicism and hypocrisy. The NDA government signed so many treaties, including the WTO agreement and intellectual property rights and the Congress government honoured them,” he said.
Sharma recalled that the idea of FDI in retail originated during the BJP regime, when former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was going to the US in 2000. “The Vajpayee government set up a group of ministers on FDI in retail, which had Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Pramod Mahajan, Murasoli Maran, Suresh Prabhu and Vasundhara Raje as members,” he said.
“The cabinet note was prepared and the inter-ministerial consultation had also been done. They wanted 100 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.”
Asking the BJP to show some rationale and sense, he said: “Change of seat should not result in change of philosophy. We should not be that cynical.”
Sharma said nobody should have any objection to the Centre’s decision after the clause allowing states to have their independent say was inserted.
“Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal knows where the interests of the farmers lie. Sukhbir Badal wrote to me saying they had some difficulties but will examine. They can’t say now the decision was done without consultation,” he said.
“And we would have failed in our duty as the Union government if we deprived those states which asked for FDI.”