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Advani slams PM over FDI in retail

September 23, 2012 20:05 IST

Slamming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the issue of allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Sunday said the red carpet was being rolled out for Walmart when it faced protests even in the US and New York City "shut Walmart out".

Advani also said BJP had opposed the measure when National Democratic Alliance was in power.

In his latest blog, he referred to the reported unrest brewing against US' largest retailer Walmart in various American cities at a time when the government here was "rolling out the red carpet" for it.

Quoting an article of author and financial expert S Gurumurthy, he said that on September 14 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rolled out the red carpet for Walmart, the same day "New York City shut Walmart out".

He also referred to a web-based newspaper which carried a story on how Walmart displaced nearby small businesses the day FDI in retail was notified in India last week.

"Weeks ago, on June 30, over 10,000 people, shouting Walmart = Poverty, marched through Los Angeles against Walmart stores," Advani said quoting Gurumurthy.

He also quoted a New York Times report on how Mexico has become the second largest country for Walmart after USA in terms of number of stores.

"According to a New York Times report, this has been achieved by the retail giant's Mexico arm by dishing out generous payouts to aid its mammoth growth," he said.

Advani said that shortly after the Times published its investigation in April, 2012, Walmart confirmed that it had launched an investigation into the "allegations of bribery at  Walmart de Mexico".

He said "leading" Congress leader P R Dasmunshi in December 2002 had said bureaucrats were being pressurised by multi-national retailers even when a group of ministers and a task force of the Planning Commission on employment had rejected FDI in retail.

"Dasmunshi had said that through bureaucrats multi-national retailers are continuously putting pressure on the government to take this anti-national decision of allowing foreign direct investment in retail trade," Advani said.

He said when Dashmunshi raised this issue in Parliament, then Commerce and Industry Minister Arun Shourie immediately stood up and said that as per the existing policy since 1997 foreign direct investment in retail trade is not permitted.

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