FDI in retail: Left parties to intensify stir

New Delhi: Upping their ante over the demand for a rollback of government`s decision to allow FDI in retail, Left parties today asked their units to intensify nationwide protests on the issue.

The CPI said the "adamant attitude of the Prime Minister smacks of a Bali deal for pushing retrograde economic measures to meet the interests of the USA", while the CPI(M) charged the government with using "specious arguments" to defend its move.

"Unable to counter the facts regarding the large-scale displacement of employment and livelihoods in the retail trade if foreign retail chains are allowed to operate in the country, the UPA government is now using the specious argument that it will benefit the farmers.

"Contrary to its claim, experience in other countries shows that once multinational retailers establish themselves and eliminate the intermediaries, they are able to dictate terms to the producers. The farmers would become captive to the prices determined by the giant retailers," the CPI(M) Politburo said in a statement.

Backing shopkeepers and traders who had gone on strike yesterday, the CPI(M) said the struggle against FDI in retail trade must be continued with vigour and asked its units to intensify the campaign by organising more protest actions.

The CPI Central Secretariat accused the government of showing "obstinacy" on its decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail trade despite "strong opposition by the entire parliamentary opposition and even a few of the allies of the ruling combine."

The FDI decision would "have dire consequences for our economy", ruin the lives of over a million retail traders, hit the customers and farmers as the retail MNCs would fix the prices, attempt to change the crop pattern and throw lakhs of people out of jobs, it said.