FORMER Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday criticised the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy of the Centre. Speaking to the media in Pune, Pawar said that the decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in defence can threaten the security of the country.
“FDI is necessary for economic development and industrialisation of the country. However opening up sectors like defence and civil aviation is not right,” Pawar said.
Pointing out the ‘precarious’ economic condition of the national carrier Air India, Pawar said that in case a foreign airline invested in the country, it could lead to cartelisation of air fares. “Thousands of workers of other airlines would be rendered jobless in case this happens,” he said.
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Pawar also questioned the silence of right-wing labour organisations like Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh which had protested the erstwhile central government’s partial FDI policy.
On Tuesday, Pawar also chaired the meeting of the Maharashtra Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation on the pending issue of finalisation of sugar mill workers’ wages. The previous wage agreement had lapsed two years back and a new agreement is yet to be finalised.
Although the state government had formed a committee to discuss the matter, no final solution has been arrived at. Pawar said that the wage agreement would have be renewed but the present economic situation of the sugar sector need to be taken into consideration.
“The upcoming crushing season would see many mills abstaining from crushing in want of cane. It is estimated that only five out of the 37 mills in Solapur would go for crushing and the situation would be the same in Marathwada as well,” Pawar said.
Pawar added that the sugar sector is facing an unprecedented crisis and all stake holders would have to think about the same. The sugar commissioner has called for a meeting of all stakeholders on Wednesday to discuss the matter.