Fema rules on retail tabled

New Delhi, Nov. 30: The government today tabled in the Lok Sabha five amendments to Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema) regulations required to facilitate FDI in multi-brand retail.

Minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena tabled the amendments, notified by the Reserve Bank of India under the Fema between May and October this year, after question hour.

The amendments seek to provide for 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, 100 per cent in single-brand retail as well as fund infusions by foreign airlines in domestic carriers. The amendments will have to get Parliament's approval within the next 30 days.

Opposition parties, particularly the CPM, have been demanding a vote on the amendments, with senior leader Sitaram Yechury saying his party would move resolutions in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to disapprove the changes.

He maintained that the amendments would have to be voted within a time frame, as laid down in the act itself.

But Yechury said "due to its obduracy, the government has agreed to have a vote on the issue twice". The first will be when the FDI issue comes up for vote after a debate and the second after the RBI amendments are put up for approval.

The changes tabled today will go to the committee on subordinate legislations and will require to be voted if objections are raised by its members.

The House is within its powers to agree, disagree or modify the notified rules, in which case they will be effective only in the revised form. The rules and regulations are not challenged in Parliament in 99 per cent of the cases but the two Houses have powers to reject them.