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Govt puts FDI decision on backburner

New Delhi: Stepping back to break the logjam in Parliament, the government today put the controversial decision on FDI in retail on the backburner till a consensus is evolved, a proposal the entire opposition and the dissenting allies accepted without reservation.

At an all-party meeting concened by him this morning, Leader of the House in Lok Sabha and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the government would move a proposal in Parliament stating, "The decision to permit 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail will be suspended till a consensus is developed through consultations with various stakeholders".

All the parties, including UPA allies TMC and DMK, which were opposed to the FDI decision, agreed to support the resolution and allow Parliament to function.

Though this was not exactly what the BJP and the Left parties were demanding- they had insisted on a complete rollback, the government agreeing that it would try to build a "consensus" virtually means that the FDI decision has been put on the backburner.

"This is a virtual rollback of the FDI decision, so we will allow the House to function. We are more keen than the government that Parliament should function," CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta told reporters after the meeting. He said the government had an "ego issue" in using the term rollback.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said the government had not bowed down before the opposition. "Process of consultation is important in a democracy and so the government had invited the opposition for this meeting. All parties, the TMC, the BJP and the Left, agreed to the resolution," he said.

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