Modi government on Monday took a radical step to relax Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms in a host of sectors including civil aviation, single-brand retail, defence and pharma by permitting more investments under automatic route.
This decision can be seen as a huge U-turn in the BJP’s stand on the FDI in key sectors. Its leaders, then in opposition now in power, had vowed to stop the FDI till their ‘last breath.’
During UPA rule in 2013, while addressing a rally held at Ramlila Ground in New Delhi by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), an angry Arun Jaitley, now the Union Finance Minister had assured the traders that his party would oppose the move till its “last breath.”
He had thundered, “This FDI (foreign direct investment) is not in favour of the consumer, farmer, trader, manufacturer and the country. That’s why we are opposing it and will continue to oppose it till our last breath. We stand united with the traders and the people of this country.”
Among those present on the occasion were the then BJP chief(now Home Minister) Rajnath Singh, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
Jaitley in his defence had argued that under FDI, 60-70% of the business will go into the hands of just two or three companies which will be harmful for the farmers.
“The farmers would be left with no choice but to sell their produce to them. When the number of sellers decrease, how will it benefit the farmers?” asked Mr Jaitley.
In fact such was the saffron party’s opposition that in September it join hands with the communist party and Samajwadi Party to call for a nationwide bandh to protest the proposals for FDI in multi-brand retail.