FM briefs party MPs on FDI in retail, black money, inflation

Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Nov 30: Briefing party MPs about FDI issue and government's steps to check black money, inflation, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today (Nov 30) said the move to allow 51% FDI in retail will help contain inflation and bridge gap between farm-gate and retail prices.

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma will brief the party MPs in detail on FDI tomorrow, 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.

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 Chennithala's 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 yesterday, 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.

Khurshid, while talking to reporters. Recalled the political upheaval that tool place at the time of Indo-US nuclear deal.

Reminding the MPs about the assertion of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with regard to the nuclear bill, he said, "If he is asserting again, I think we should welcome it."

At the same time, Khurshid maintained that the Prime Minister was always open for dialogue and accommodation.

He said the Prime Minister is "not a man, who is prone to confrontation and I think we should take it in that spirit."


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