Cong is confusing states on FDI: BJP

Party says restrictions on foreign chains by states will be declared void by courts

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: September 18, 2012 1:00 am

In an apparent bid to take the wind out of UPA government’s strategy to take the TMC on board for FDI in retail by citing the options given to states to opt out of this facility,the BJP on Monday sought to underline that the government is obfuscating this condition claiming that the bilateral investment agreements with countries will render this condition redundant.

“India has entered into bilateral investment agreements with 82 countries. The basic feature of these bilateral treaties is that they accord national treatment to foreign investors. The effect of this provision is that India cannot put any condition on foreign investors which are not applicable to domestic investors. Since there are no restrictions on local retail chains,the restrictions on foreign chains by the states would be declared by the courts as void,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said on Monday lambasting the government’s ploy to get state government’s consent for its decision allowing FDI in multi-brand retail trade.

Javadekar also cited a case pertaining to Kerala government’s attempts to stop ‘Corporate Retailers’ in the state but it was struck down by the Kerala High Court.

Citing this alleged loophole in the government’s decision on FDI in retail trade,the BJP came down heavily against the government for its decision and asserted that people across the country will rise against this decision during the Bharat Bandh called by the opposition parties on September 20.

Reacting to the BJP charge,Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said: “I pity the lack of clarity…. The laws of India are abundantly clear. The (Union) government does not give the shop licence. That’s the right of the state. BIPAs (Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements) are for investment protection. We have left the implementation of policy to states…. This is the mental bankruptcy of the BJP.”

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