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FDI in retail: Pranab briefs Cong MPs, Parliament adjourned again

Parliament remained stalled for the seventh consecutive day on Wednesday as Opposition and a section of ruling alliance members created uproar on FDI in retail and various issues.

twitter-logoPTI | November 30, 2011 | Updated 13:28 IST

Briefing party MPs about foreign direct investment (FDI) and government's steps to check blackmoney, inflation, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said the move to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail will help contain inflation and bridge gap between farm-gate and retail prices.

Parliament remained stalled for the seventh consecutive day on Wednesday as Opposition and a section of ruling alliance members created uproar on FDI in retail and various issues.

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Commerce Minister Anand Sharma will brief the party MPs in detail on FDI on Thursday, as Mukherjee mainly concentrated on the other two issues in the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting this morning.

Mukherjee told the MPs that FDI in retail is one of the measures that will help bring down prices by checking the huge differences between the farm-gate price of a product and its wholesale and retail prices.

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In the one-hour long briefing, Mukherjee apprised the party members in detail about the steps taken by government to check the outflow of blackmoney to tax havens abroad.

He also told them why it was not possible to accept the opposition demand to make the names of such account holders public.

Mukherjee said that government is bound by international agreements and making their names public right now will obstruct the inflow of further information regarding it, sources said.

After the meeting, Law Minister Salman Khurshid downplayed party MP Sanjay Singh and Kerala PCC chief Ramesh Chennithalas opposition to FDI, saying there was nothing wrong if Congress members want to contribute to the over-all debate on FDI issue.

On if he endorses the remarks of the Congress MP on FDI on Tuesday, he said, "If I agree with his point of view, I will not be in the Cabinet."

Mukherjee addressed the MPs after a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence in the morning.

As opposition to the key policy reform grew, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were first adjourned till noon on Wednesday and then for the entire day.

As soon as Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar called for the Question Hour, signalling a start to the day's proceedings, members rushed to the aisles demanding a rollback of the controversial decision to allow FDI in retail.

Some members of the ruling Congress as also of the TDP were seen waving placards demanding creation of a separate Telangana state.

Members of Trinamool Congress, a key partner in the government, were also seen waving placards and raising slogans on rollback of the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail.

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