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Jul 17, 2013 at 08:47am IST

Govt hikes FDI in 13 sectors, blames Opposition for late decision

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday decided to hike Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 13 sectors, including 100 per cent in telecom and higher caps in insurance and defence sectors, to boost the sagging economy. The government's effort to woo investors seems to have come too late as the rupee has weakened in the past months and inflation continues to rise.

The Prime Minister had enough opportunities in the past to take these decisions but didn't do so because there were ministers opposing it. The Congress has said that the decision on this was not taken earlier as the Opposition did not allow Parliament to function.

"First of all we are a coalition government. Second, even in the Congress there are different strands of opinion. Third, whenever the PM tried to bring in any important legislation, any discussion, the Opposition did not allow Parliament to function. Therefore, in a complex political situation like this, it's totally unfair to blame the PM," Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told Ibn18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai.

On this, the Opposition said that the UPA government has the habit of attacking its coalition partners and the opposition. "Whenever this government had a problem they would blame it on the Opposition and on coalition partners. They would start attacking institutions of integrity like CAG and CVC. They would attack the media for not supporting them. They would blame the Opposition for stalling Parliament not realising that we are the voice of the people. It's the angst of the people against the massive corruption and misgovernance," BJP leader Piyush Goyal said.

The FDI cap in telecom has been raised to 100 per cent from 74 per cent, up to 49 per cent through automatic route and beyond via FIPB.

The Opposition has said that it shows the government's weakness in negotiating with the foreign countries. "I believe there should be reciprocity in negotiating with foreign countries. They should also recognise India has demands. India has surplus labour. It has knowledge skills. If they stop our H1B visas and we allow their capital unrestricted access, I think it is not a level playing field," Goyal said.