Modi govt surrendering to pressure of US pharma lobby, says Congress leader Anand Sharma

On defence FDI, the Congress leader said that access to state-of-the-art technology has been dispensed with by taking today's decision.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: June 21, 2016 10:53 am
foreign direct investment, fdi, fdi in india, fdi defence, fdi food, fdi pharma, us pharma lobby, fdi news, india news Congress Leader Anand Sharma (C), Pramod Tiwari and state congress president Nirmal Khatri addressing a press conference in Lucknow. (Express Photo by Pramod Adhikari/File)

Accusing the government of not being sincere in its intent, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Tuesday said easing of FDI norms in some sectors have been done while ignoring national interests and after “surrendering” to pressure of the US pharma lobby.

Sharma, a former Commerce Minister, charged the government with easing “pre-conditions” imposed by the UPA dispensation that were necessary to protect the interests of the country and its people.

“Opening up of sectors has always been calibrated and is a ‘work in progress’. I fail to understand why the government is trying to give an impression as if these are big ticket reforms,” he said.

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“While national interests have been ignored in easing FDI norms in defence…One cannot call this a progressive move. On one hand, there is this shrill noise about ‘Make in India’ and on the other, you do away with the local sourcing condition.

This means the government speaks in double-voices. Its decisions do not reflect the sincerity of its intent.

“This government has surrendered. It is clearly the pressure of US pharma lobby which has been pushing for removal of these pre-conditions… It is not right to remove the checks imposed especially in defence and brown-field pharma projects,” he told reporters.

Sharma said India has one of the most liberal FDI regimes and that’s why even after the global economic crisis, India remained one of the top two attractive destinations for foreign investments.

On defence FDI, the Congress leader said that access to state-of-the-art technology has been dispensed with by taking today’s decision. “It’s strange,” he said.

foreign direct investment, fdi, fdi in india, fdi defence, fdi food, fdi pharma, us pharma lobby, fdi news, india news FDI equity inflows. (PTI Graphics)

“What was in the long-term interests of India was to have  capabilities to make the high-end defence platforms with the assimilation of best of technologies.

“So there is no change per se, except the oversight of the Cabinet Committee on Security and non-induction. So this is a strange decision. We had ourselves supported FDI in defence. When I was a minister, I had supported it…the national interests have been ignored,” he said.

On the pharma sector, he said FDI was permitted in greenfield projects where new factories were to be established for 100 per cent FDI under automatic route but for brownfield, where the acquisition or takeover of existing pharmaceutical industry was concerned 100 per cent was allowed but through  the government approval route and certain conditions were put.

“This means there is complete takeover without any precondition, without any check. It will seriously erode India’s strong capacity and capabilities in the pharmaceutical industry. There was no reason when 100 per cent was allowed in both greenfield and brownfield, why this was essential. Government has to explain this,” he said.

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  1. A
    Ashish Singh
    Jun 21, 2016 at 10:09 am
    Sometime back it was reported that India surped China in attracting FDI in 2015-16. From the above the total FDI inflow is around $ 40 billion. As per a report appearing in ET issue dt 14-Jan-2016, the FDI received by China in entire 2015 was $126.27 billion. Now which is correct is not known.
    1. R
      Jun 21, 2016 at 6:30 am
      Oh, look thief and noted bootlicker Anand Sharma doesnt like Modi! What a surprise!
      1. M
        mahendra vihtlani
        Jun 21, 2016 at 9:11 am
        Has anand sharma accepted Rahul as a congress boss??
        1. N
          Jun 21, 2016 at 10:47 am
          The new FDI moves could bring in more investment and hence employment. However, it was Subramanyan Swamy who was dead against Rajan and said he belongs to a coterie that is selling out to Western interests. What does he have to say regarding this liberalization now ? Is it different, now that the PM is 'selling out " and allowing almost any kind of obsolete technology to be made here?
          1. C
            Curious onlooker
            Jun 21, 2016 at 10:30 am
            Congress should not act like a dog in the manger.Patients in India should have access to highly researched pharma products from the US. Such false pride as evinced by Congress in the past has only resulted in denying potent medical drugs to Indiansdia should not act as if the country is self sufficient and it could do well without help from other countries. Mr Modi is trying to integrate India with the rest of the world. It is a good thing and all success to him.
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