The Communist Party of India (CPI) has slammed comments by the American ambassador to India and the US state department, welcoming the opening of the retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI).
''The comments by the American envoy extolling the virtues of allowing FDI in retail sector shows that Indian policy is increasingly coming under external pressure and influence, particularly from the US,'' charged D Raja, the CPI's national secretary.
The CPI leader also lashed out at the government for not having taken Parliament into confidence before taking the important decision. ''Parliament should have been taken into confidence on this crucial issue having far-reaching impact on the economy and the people, particularly when the winter session is going on,'' he said.
Opposition parties led by the BJP have stalled parliament over the past few days, ever since the union cabinet decided to give the go-ahead for 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail and 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail.
There has been stiff opposition from several allies of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) including the Trinamool Congress and the DMK. Differences within the Congress had also surfaced, but the party has stilled dissent on the issue.
Peter Burleigh, the US ambassador to India, claimed in Chandigarh that the move to allow international retailers in the country would not hurt small traders; on the contrary, it would benefit consumers and farmers, he said.
The US state department spokesman, Mark Toner, also welcomed the decision. ''We think economic reforms such as these will further strengthen business-to-business ties between our two countries,'' he remarked in Washington DC. ''It's going to create new economic opportunities and it's also going to lead to more choices for Indian consumers.''