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Left will oppose FDI in retail: Yechury

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(From right) The CPI (M) leader, Mr Sitaram Yechury, the Assocham President, Mr Mahendra K. Sanghi, and the CPI leader, Mr D. Raja, at a conference on `Poverty Alleviation and Economic Reforms' in the Capital on Wednesday. — Kamal Narang

New Delhi , Aug. 24

THE Left would oppose tooth and nail the entry of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector, said Mr Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau Member, CPI (M) and Member of Parliament, here on Wednesday. Addressing a seminar on `Poverty Alleviation with Economic Reforms' organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), Mr Yechury said that the Left would also defy the Government plan for hiking the prices of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene.

Mr Yechury said that the perception that FDI in retail would generate jobs is totally unfounded and misplaced. "The Left will oppose any such decision of the UPA Government that permits the opening up of retail sector to MNCs," said Mr Yechury.

When asked if CPI (M) and CPI would support the UPA Government's proposal to effect a further hike in the prices of petroleum prices in view of rising crude oil prices, Mr Yechury and Mr D. Raja, National Secretary, CPI, held that both CPI (M) and CPI would seek the rationalisation of the taxation structure for petroleum products to oppose the much talked about hike in petroleum prices. Both the Left leaders said that the tax structure, whether it is customs, excise, value-added or sales tax on petroleum products, is so distorted and vague that there is enough scope for further relaxation. Therefore, instead of supporting the hike in the prices of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene, the Left would warn its allies in the Government to take a recourse to tax rationalisation.

Mr Raja categorically stated that his party would see that no disinvestment of the Government holding is done in either BHEL or any other public sector undertaking.

Mr Raja added that his party would press for the introduction of reservations and affirmative action in the private sector for deprived sections to ensure that they contribute their share to the economy and lead a dignified life.

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