Rivals Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Left parties on Thursday came together to attack the government in the Rajya Sabha over the decision to allow foreign direct investment in railways and defence alleging that the decision was taken in a “hurry” and amounted to “selling” the country’s interest.
Referring to the government decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in railways and 49 per cent in defence, TMC MP Derek O’Brien said, “The timing and the manner of what has happened in the last 10 days leaves much to be desired.” He initially raised the matter during the Question Hour. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told him that the issue was discussed in the House at the time of the General and Railway Budget presentation and the Cabinet had only taken a formal decision now.
Since the issue was common, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Sitaram Yechury drew the attention of the Chair for taking up the TMC member’s notice for suspension of the Question Hour.
Charging the government with being in a hurry to go ahead with the FDI decision, Mr. O’Brien said, “There is a hurry because bags are to be packed and there is a plane to be caught to start the auction of India because [it is felt that] once FDI is brought in all India’s problems will be solved.”
The MP said in the United States, 32 states did not allow FDI in insurance. “In 2008, the U.S. had to bail out AIG insurance company with $80 million. We are giving them a free market. FDI is not Foreign Direct Investment, it is foreign direct interference, foreign direct intrusion.”
“By allowing FDI in railways, defence and insurance sectors, please don’t sell our country,” he pleaded adding, “FDI is not the panacea for all ills.”
P. Rajeeve (CPI-M), D. Raja (CPI) and Jaya Bachchan (Samajwadi Party) among others were seen raising their hands to oppose the decision.