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FDI: Cabinet decision in whose interest?

History repeats itself and it seems that our Union government is trying to get it repeated as early as possible by allowing foreign investments in every sector of industries and agriculture as well. The Union Cabinet by justifying 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail trade has proved that it has no regards either for the poor people of the country or the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who cherished a dream to bring ‘Ram Rajya’ in the country by his followers. Now, the country is moving head very fast to ‘Ravan Rajya’. It has to be mentioned that Mahatma’s name is being utilized by our leaders to save the ‘corrupt politicians’ who are responsible for widening the gap between the rich and poor. Mahatma Gandhi was a great advocate for ‘Swadeshi’ and tried to bring equality and prosperity in society. He tried to encourage cottage industries to make the country self-sufficient in all respect. The country’s 80 percent population depends on agriculture. He had seen the brutalities of the British rulers on the Indian villagers, that is the reason he had given the call to boycott foreign goods and produce all necessary items in the country itself. But our present government is trying to bring foreign investment in the interest of foreign businessmen, defying heavy protest by the countrymen.

For more than 150 years, the countrymen had to live the life of slaves under the British rule. The social activist, Anna Hazare has repeatedly warned the government against the widening of rich-poor gap due to prevailing corruption in the administration and return of foreign rule in guise. Differences remain only that earlier the Britishers were the rulers and now the government is working for the Americans. The ruling party maintains by opening of Wal Mart like business houses lakhs of people would be benefitted by eliminating a number of middlemen in the retail business. They forget that middlemen also render services to the society and for that whatever they earn is their wages, which are the main source of their livelihood. The foreign investors may give employment to lakhs of people by eliminating crores of others. The unemployment problem would reach at climax beyond the control of the government in that case. The rulers should also know that the middlemen are also our countrymen. If they are rendered jobless, who would be responsible to provide jobs to them?.

Further, there is no guarantee that the foreign investors would be collecting the agricultural products from village to village, where even roads do not exist. The Indian government failed constructs roads in many villages even after a lapse of 64 years of independence. Whether the foreign investors would also provide infrastructure for the retail trade in the country?. They are likely to force the petty traders to deliver the goods at their doors. They will also dictate their terms as they would be controlling the entire affairs and our ruling party would have no rights to check up.

The Union cabinet pleads that they are taking the steps in order to get relief faced by the country in the financial sector. Swami Ramdeva has suggested time and again calling back the ‘black money’ from the foreign banks deposited by Indian citizens and investing the same in the country to fight the financial problems. The amount involved in those banks would be far excess than that of the investment by Wal Mart and other investors. The government is not likely to go for taking any action in the cases of black money. The countrywide opposition to the government’s decision has brought the government in tight corner. To save its face the ruling party leaders have given the instance of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that they had given assurance to bring 26 percent foreign investment in their poll manifesto of 2004 parliamentary elections. Even if that is to be admitted in that case also the control over the trade was supposed to be in Indians hands. By allowing 51 percent foreign investment the control over the business is to go under the foreigners and Indians would have to lose their rights. Do Indians have no right to remain independent?.

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Daya Nath Singh's picture

Journalist; Guwahati Press Club office Secretary

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