Parliament logjam: Oppn’s FDI rollback demand to be discussed with PM

The hour-long meeting held in Parliament House failed to resolve the logjam in the two Houses as opposition parties, led by BJP and the Left, stuck to their stand and demanded rollback of the Cabinet decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail

New Delhi: The deadlock in Parliament over foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail issue continued today with government telling an unrelenting opposition it would discuss the demand for a rollback with the prime minister and the Cabinet, reports PTI.

The hour-long meeting held in Parliament House failed to resolve the logjam in the two Houses as opposition parties, led by BJP and the Left, stuck to their stand and demanded rollback of the Cabinet decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail.

Even UPA allies TMC and DMK, along with SP and BSP, which lend outside support to the government, demanded that the decision should be revoked.

Leader of the House in Lok Sabha and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told the meeting that government had heard the views of the opposition parties but since the FDI decision was taken by the Cabinet, he would take the views of the opposition to the prime minister and the Cabinet.

“The opposition parties agreed with this suggestion,” CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said after the meeting.

Interestingly, UPA allies were as vocal in their dissent as the opposition parties. DMK told government to ‘shelve’ the decision while TMC demanded a rollback.

“We have demanded rollback of the decision. We have been demanding that a meeting of UPA partners should be held every three months. Such matters should be discussed with UPA partners,” TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said.

SP spokesperson Mohan Singh insisted that “without government withdrawing the FDI decision, Parliament cannot function smoothly”.

BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra also spoke on similar lines at the meeting expressing his party’s opposition to the FDI decision and demanding that the decision be revoked.

BJP, which moved an adjournment motion today as well in Lok Sabha to discuss the FDI issue, said nothing less than a rollback of the decision was acceptable to it.

“The demand of the whole opposition is that the decision should be revoked. It is clear that America, Britain, France have lobbied for allowing FDI in retail,” BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said, adding that this policy will only harm the farmers and retailers in the country.

“Germany has already thrown out Wal-Mart,” Mr Joshi said.

With government asking for more time, the deadlock in Parliament continued.

The Left parties also reiterated their demand for a rollback.

“We said in the meeting that we are opposed to FDI in retail as it will have a negative impact. We are also against government taking such a decision in the Cabinet without discussing the matter in Parliament when the session is on,” Mr Yechury said.

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Heightened global interest in Sensex F&O segment on Eurex

Sensex F&O, which were launched on the Eurex late last year, are the leading Indian market tools for international institutional investors, banks and hedge funds, Borse Group executive director Roland Schwinn said

Singapore: An increasing number of institutional investors are looking to dabble in Eurex-listed Sensex futures and options (F&O) in the wake of a surge in trading volumes linked to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) benchmark index, Borse Group executive director Roland Schwinn said Tuesday, reports PTI.

“We have also started developing market-makers among the India-origin companies operating out of Dubai and Singapore,” he told PTI here, pointing out the potential of participation by the Eurex’s 431 members in 30 countries and 8,357 registered traders.

“Our institutional investors out of the United States, Europe and Asia will sooner or later want to have an exposure in India and we see contracts under Eurex’s Sensex futures and options a big opportunity for them,” said Mr Schwinn.

Sensex F&O, which were launched on the Eurex late last year, are the leading Indian market tools for international institutional investors, banks and hedge funds, he elaborated.

Though international investors face limitations due to restrictions on direct access to the Indian stock and share markets, Sensex F&O would attract indirect investors, he continued.

“Sensex is a very strong brand and tracks the daily performance of the 30 largest and most actively traded companies listed on the BSE and we are working to build its volume in the global market, which will be supported by the pick-up in BSE volumes,” he said.

The Sensex’s daily volumes have increased significantly to over 43,000 contracts in recent trading sessions following the launch of the BSE’s rebate-based, trade-boosting Liquidity Incentives Scheme in late October.

“We are in partnership with the BSE and committed to make Sensex F&O the main choice of trading for and with the Indian markets,” he said, highlighting the need to nurture such specific contracts for the longer term.

The Eurex’s commitment to Sensex F&O is backed by parent Deutsche Borse Group’s 5% stake in the BSE as part of the Zurich-based bourse's global expansion plans.

Sensex F&O would be driven in the coming years by Indian companies based outside the country, especially those operating out of Dubai and Singapore, said Mr Schwinn.

“We have an increasing number of Dubai- and Singapore-based companies expressing interest in the Sensex F&O that will lift the interest internationally,” added Henk Huitema, Deutsche Borse Group’s head of Singapore Branch, with responsibility for South Asian and Middle East markets.

Stock and share markets are expected to come under pressure from the Eurozone crisis, but new products—including Sensex F&O—would be opportunities to lock into Asia-supported investments, Mr Huitema said.

“We also see more and more Indian firms looking into direct memberships of Eurex,” he said.

Backing its drive to introduce international product trading in the Indian markets, Deutsche Borse has started training Indian traders on dealing in European and Asia products, as well as managing risks.

Since April this year, it has held training sessions in Kolkata and Mumbai.

“We are expanding our pool of trainers, who are experienced traders and university lecturers,” he said.

Deutsche Borse was also seeking cooperation with Indian universities and technical institutions to increase the local base of trainers.

Separately, Deutsche Borse has this month created an Indian market-dedicated position to develop business in the products market, as well as build its trader-customer base.

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2G case: CBI says it is not opposed to Balwa’s release on bail

Special public prosecutor UU Lalit said the charges framed against Shahid Usman Balwa are similar to those against co-accused and Swan Telecom director Vinod Goenka, who has been granted bail by the Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today told a Delhi court that it would not oppose the bail plea of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa in the second generation (2G) case keeping in view the Supreme Court and high court orders granting bail to other co-accused in the case, reports PTI.

“As an officer of this court, considering the umbrella charges with individual charges framed against the accused, we are not opposing the bail plea at this juncture in view of the Supreme Court and high court orders,” special public prosecutor UU Lalit told Special CBI judge OP Saini.

He said the charges framed against Mr Balwa are similar to those against co-accused and Swan Telecom director Vinod Goenka, who has been granted bail by the Supreme Court.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for Mr Balwa, said his client is the only private person who is still in judicial custody.

He cited the high court order granting bail to Ms Kanimozhi and four others, to drive home the point that bail is the rule and the court should consider that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.

The court has reserved its order on Mr Balwa’s bail plea for 2:30pm and is likely to hear the arguments on bail plea of former telecom minister A Raja’s ex-private secretary RK Chandolia at 2pm.

Mr Balwa and Mr Chandolia had moved their bail pleas on the ground of parity after the Supreme Court on 23rd November granted bail to five corporate executives—Unitech’s MD Sanjay Chandra, Swan Telecom’s director Vinod Goenka and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group’s executives Hari Nair, Gautam Doshi and Surrendra Pipara.

Taking cue from the Supreme Court order, the Delhi High Court yesterday granted bail to DMK MP Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd directors Rajiv Aggarwal and Asif Balwa.

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