On January 11, 2018, The Logical Indian website published a story, written by Bharat Nayak, with the headline “As Govt Allows 100% FDI In Single Brand Retail, What Were BJP’s Views On FDI Before It Came Into Power?”, even as the Congress was running its debunked propaganda campaign about the change in retail FDI policy (See “Is the Congress Building a Fake Narrative on FDI in Retail?”)
The Logical Indian article’s argument runs along lines similar to the Congress’s in arguing that before the 2014 election the BJP was opposed to FDI in retail:
Then, it goes on to say:
Thereafter, the article comes to the following question:
But if we see one of the images deployed by the article, it is quite clear that the BJP leaders were largely talking about FDI in multi-brand retail:
It may also be noted that not being specific about the category of FDI is not evidence of opposing all varieties of FDI. The fact that some of the BJP leaders have specifically mentioned that they are opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail would be a clearer indication of what precisely the party was targeting.
Notwithstanding the article’s claims, as with the Congress’s claims, there is enough evidence to show that the BJP was always opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail, and some of this evidence lies in the very images/ videos the article cites. For example, the article cites the following video featuring PM Narendra Modi (then in opposition):
This is the same video cited by journalist Sam Jawed on January 10 in a tweet:
As we had pointed out in our article “Is the Congress Building a Fake Narrative on FDI in Retail?”, “if we watch the video clip of Narendra Modi… we can clearly hear him mention 51% FDI, which unambiguously refers to multi-brand retail which policy PM Modi’s government has not changed, whereas in single-brand retail FDI up to 49% has been allowed hitherto via the automatic route.”
If we check the relevant part of the bjp.org booklet that the article has linked (also cited by Congress leader Randeep S. Surjewala in a tweet) to claim that the BJP was opposed to FDI in retail as a while, we see the following:
We see a short paragraph on single-brand retail whereas the focus of the booklet is clearly on FDI in multi-brand retail, which runs into several points and carries on beyond. The one paragraph on single-brand retail FDI is more definitional and a statement of fact. There is no opposition expressed to single-brand retail FDI in it. It is very different from the content of the section on multi-brand retail FDI.
Thus, the BJP’s stand appears to have always been against FDI in multi-brand retail and not single-brand retail.
We have further evidence that the BJP specifically targeted FDI in multi-brand retail, as in a clear statement of opinion:
Next is evidence from narendramodi.in, it is dated September 2012, a year cited by the article as a time period when the BJP was opposed to FDI in retail as a whole as per its claims:
Let us also see some evidence in the full public domain as published by the media (note the dateline of the first article, it is from August 2012):
And, after coming to office, the BJP had not changed its stance on FDI in multi-brand retail:
Why does the BJP appear to have been opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail? Because multi-brand retail FDI would create monopolies in a whole sector and destroy local traders.
And what has happened to multi-brand retail FDI policy?
It continues unchanged, with 51% FDI allowed:
And it is needless to point out at this stage that the change in FDI policy pertains only to single-brand retail:
Therefore, the facts are the following:
- In 2012, as in 2014, BJP opposed FDI in multi-brand retail
- In 2015, the BJP-led government reiterated that stand
- In 2018, 100% FDI has been allowed in single-brand retail only
- Multi-brand FDI policy continues unchanged
What about some of the concerns raised by the article about the change in policy for allowing 100% FDI via the automatic route in single-brand retail? Let us consider the following benefits that the change in policy is likely to bring and if these are reassuring enough, which we had stated in our article mentioned above:
Hence, it seems that there has been no U-turn, change of stance, inconsistency and/or or hypocrisy on the part of the government at the Centre and the party that runs it. It was always opposed to 100% FDI in multi-brand retail and it continues to be so. All it has changed is the FDI policy on single-brand retail, which as we have argued, can lead to several benefits for the economy.