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Monday, Jul 12, 2004

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Left threatens to block passage of Finance Bill

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Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, CPI(M) General Secretary, and Mr Prakash Karat, Polit Bureau member, at the Polit Bureau meeting in the Capital on Sunday. — Ramesh Sharma

New Delhi , July 11

THE Left parties on Sunday demanded a rollback in the hike in Foreign Direct Investment limits in insurance, telecom and aviation announced in the 2004-05 Union Budget.

"We were not consulted on the FDI hike and we will oppose passage of the Finance Bill in Parliament," the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Mr M.K. Pandhe told reporters here. His statement followed a meeting of the Polit Bureau, which was also attended by the party's General Secretary, Mr H.K.S. Surjeet, the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, the former West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Jyoti Basu and the Polit Bureau member, Mr Prakash Karat.

"The hike in FDI limit in the insurance sector requires amendments in the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) Act. "If the bill (to amend IRDA Act) comes up, we will oppose it." Mr Pandhe stated.

In a statement from Lucknow, the National General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Mr A.B. Bardhan, said his party would "persuade, pressurise and even agitate" on the issue of raising FDI limits. He said the move to hike FDI in telecom is tantamount to handing over control to big multinationals.

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