People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 50

December 16, 2012




CPI(M) Parliamentary Office


BOTH the houses were adjourned on the first day of the week after paying homage to Shri Inder Kumar Gujral, a former prime minister of India, who passed away in Gurgaon, Haryana, on November 30, 2012. He was 92. The houses also expressed solidarity with the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy on the 28th anniversary of that horrendous day.


In Rajya Sabha, there were discussions on the government’s decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail trade and on the notification issued by the government under the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999. A slightly edited text of the intervention by Sitaram Yechury in the discussion on FDI is being reproduced elsewhere in this issue.


Basudeb Acharia spoke on the same issue in Lok Sabha. See the text of his intervention elsewhere in this issue.


In his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha, CPI(M) member C P Narayanan supported the motion regarding FDI in multi-brand retail, saying that, like other so-called reforms introduced by this government in the past, this one is also going to benefit only a very small section of the population. There was a general agreement among various political parties that the retail trade should not be opened for foreign capital, but the government is opening this sector at the behest of certain powers. To wipe out or reduce deficits, it is not necessary to invite foreign direct investment. The member also said the foreign companies would not be bound to do local purchases because the BIPA and GATT, two of the agreements India has signed, would ensure that Indian markets were flooded with the goods from various enterprises in other countries and these companies too would most probably purchase goods from them. He said most of the political parties are opposed to entry of FDI in retail trade, as are various mass organisations, traders' organisations, etc. To implement the FDI proposal would be detrimental to the interests of the whole nation. It is only to satisfy certain vested interests who control the world trade, and is to the advantage of Indian and foreign monopolists, but nothing good would come out of it for the common mass.


For the government of the United Progressive Alliance, the tribulation was over after two days of discussion in the two houses, as the government won in the voting in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha separately, on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail trade. The government received generous help once again from the Bahujan Samaj Party that voted against the motion and from the Samajwadi Party that staged a walkout.


In Lok Sabha, speaking on the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill 2011, A Sampath urged the minister to consider his point that this bill needed a detailed study by the standing committee of parliament. He said one’s dispossession from a dwelling house, an immovable property, as per the existing act, has led to suicide in certain instances. It is an unpardonable sin. The procedure followed in existing act is that normally four notices are published in various newspapers. But all these notices cost around one lakh rupees, including the cost of advertisements charged by the newspapers, and this also is credited to the concerned party’s account. Thus, the affected person is taken out of the frying pan and thrown into the burning fire. There have been reports in various newspapers about the role of the NABARD in some such cases. The prime purpose for which the NABARD was constituted was to refinance the cooperative movement and state governments and also to undertake certain flagship programmes of the government of India. But the role of the NABARD in such cases has been shameful. This has to be looked into seriously.


The member also said it is not fair for parliament to handcuff the judiciary. The banks’ argument is that it is some immovable property that serves as a collateral for a bank loan amount but agricultural properties are exempted from the purview of the act, and hence inordinate delay is caused in realising the amounts due to banks as the revenue authorities are to be involved for taking physical possession over the secured assets. The member also said there is only one bench of the tribunal for Kerala and it is necessary to have another bench for Kerala and Lakshadweep, because the number of such cases are increasing. While there should no doubt be speedy trial, justice hurried is justice buried. Sampath concluded with a reiteration of his request that the bill be sent to the standing committee on finance for a thorough study and deliberation before it is passed.