FDI Debate in Lok Sabha Dec 4-5; Government Confident of Numbers
New Delhi: The UPA government said it was confident of its numbers in the Lok Sabha, a day ahead of the crucial debate - with voting - in the house on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail and urged all parties to reject the "politics" behind the issue.
"We are confident of the numbers," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters. The debate will begin Dec 4 and the voting will take place Dec 5.
The minister described the debate as "pure politics". He also urged all the parties to reject the politics behind the motion sponsored by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
"I urge all parties to reject the politics of it and vote against the politics in the house," said Kamal Nath adding "the policy is very clear that the states have to decide on allowing any (FDI in retail) proposal".
The minister said the government would get the amendments to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), required to facilitate FDI in multi-brand retail, passed in both houses, if needed.
"Passing it in one house is sufficient as per the rules. But if it is required, we will pass it in both the houses," Kamal Nath said.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury had recently said that FEMA amendments need to be passed in both houses and the government's failure to do so will be challenged in a court.
While the debate in the Lok Sabha will be held under Rule 184, in the Rajya Sabha it will be held under Rule 168 - both entailing vote, said government sources.
Though the government is now confident of sailing through in the lower house, it does not have the required numbers in the upper house.
The role of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which support the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government from outside, would be crucial in the Rajya Sabha, sources said.
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