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FDI debate: Political parties place their interests above national interest?
Lower house of the parliament is to vote today on the issue of allowing 51% FDI in multi-brand retail. Except the Congress, most of the political parties including UPA allies like SP and BSP don't favor giving passage to big retailers like Walmart. However, on the issue of voting, both the allies have not opened their cards yet.

BSP PRESIDENT Mayawati is bargaining with the Congress on the matter of SC/ ST Promotion Quota bill and memorial for Dr Ambedkar in Mumbai in lieu of its support for FDI in Lok Sabha.

Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP, on the other hand, may abstain from voting. Reportedly Yadav had said that he was against the move but would not do anything to "trouble the government". Mayawati has said that keeping "communal forces" (read the BJP), at bay is a priority, as reported by NDTV.

The casual stand of SP and BSP on such a serious issue raises questions whether some political parties place their personal interests at the top of the national interest. Noted food policy analyst Devinder Sharma, who is raising his voice against FDI in multi brand retail said that some political parties are hypocritical.

“They are misleading the country by saying they don't want to give an opportunity to the communal forces. In reality they are looking for an escape route. In the bargain they are taking the country on a ride,” Devinder Sharma told this citizen journalist .

Sharma says that multi brand FDI will neither benefit farmers nor generate more livelihoods. “The government says that retail FDI will provide 30 per cent more income to farmers. There can be no bigger lie than this. In the US, for instance, if Wal-Mart was able to enhance farm incomes there was no reason why the American government would dole out a massive subsidy of US $ 307 billion under the US Farm Bill 2008, which basically makes a budgetary subsidy provision for the next five years,” Sharma wrote in his blog.

He added that multi brand FDI is not going to add up jobs in the country, the biggest advantage the government talks about. “The biggest argument in favour of multi-brand retail is that it will create 10 million jobs by the year 2010. There is no justification for this claim. In the United States, Wal-Mart dominates big retail. It has a turnover of US $ 400 billion, and employs 2.1 million people. Ironically, the Indian retail sector too has a turnover of US $ 400 billion, but has 12 million shops and employs 44 million people. It is the Indian retail which is a much-bigger employer, and any effort to allow retail FDI will only destroy millions of livelihoods,” adds Sharma.

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