New Delhi, Amita Shah: The government and the BJP may be playing down the continuation of 51% FDI in multi-brand retail, but the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the economic wing of the RSS, wants the UPA policy to be reversed.
As the government indicated on Thursday that while there would be status quo on the policy, it would reject any proposal on FDI in multi-brand retail that came up before the Cabinet, the SJM expressed its disappointment that the policy was not scrapped.
"When the UPA government announced the policy, the BJP had opposed it and promised to reverse it when it came to power. This was also one of its election promises. The government should not reverse it," SJM's national co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan said.
Asked about the government's stand that it would not go ahead with any proposal on it, he said the policy should be defined in black and white. "There is a policy in place allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. Besides, it has been a non-starter. So why continue with it?"
Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman maintained that there was no change in the BJP stand on the matter. "The issue came up because the ministry has come out with a compendium that talks about FDI in every segment.
It talks about the current existing position, the last position taken by the UPA through an executive order. FDI in multi brand retail can't go through a direct route. Every decision has to come to cabinet.. We will not allow it.," she told reporters.
She said there was no change in the policy brought by the Manmohan Singh government through an executive order. The BJP echoed the government's position. "The stand on FDI in multi-brand retail remains unchanged.
There are no pending applications on multi-brand retail and as all proposals have to be cleared by the Centre it is unlikely to come up," said party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao.
Asked why the government was doing away with it, he said the policy was infructuous and there was no need to scrap it. The RSS affiliates do not see eye to eye with the government on several issues including FDI in insurance, e-retailers, field trials of Genetically Modified (GM) crops and certain provisions of the land acquisition bill. While RSS affilates like BMS and BKS too have been highlighting their differences on issues with the government, they have refrained from taking a confrontationist position as they did during the Vajpayee regime.
The document on the government consolidated FDI policy released recently retained the Congress-led regime's decision to allow foreign retailers to open multi-brand stores with 51 per cent ownership.