Veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha today termed the latest round of Foreign Direct Investment reforms as a deviation from the party's stand, and said 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail will hit small traders.
Sinha, who has been critical of the Narendra Modi government for its handling of economy among other issues, was here to take part in a farmers' protest against an upcoming power project in Gadarwara town of Narsinghpur district.
Talking to the reporters here, Sinha said, "As an opposition party, the BJP opposed 100 per cent FDI in retail. But after coming to power, the union government headed by the BJP decided to implement it. This is not good for the country. 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail would create problems for small traders.
He said the coming budget would be the last regular budget of the BJP-led government at the Centre but even after four budgets were passed nobody could predict the country's future. Sinha said the state of country's economy was a cause of major concern. he said.
"We (government and the BJP) are praising the economic achievements for the past four years saying that we kept the prices stable and controlled the deficit besides registering growth. There is only one secret behind all this -- crude oil prices came down when we came to power in 2014, and gradually reached 30-35 dollars per barrel from Rs 110 dollars.
"When the prices of crude oil were controlled and were lower, the Centre did not extend the benefit to consumers. Government earned several lakh crores. But the country didn't see the benefit of several lakh crores," Sinha said.
"I was also part of the manifesto committee. We drafted the manifesto, which was also seen by Narendra Modi and he made some corrections. I also feel guilty as the promises made by us are not fulfilled," he said.
"The Centre is considering incorporating the Bhavantar Yojana in the next budget. I was shocked when I got the information about this scheme. This scheme is for the exploitation of farmers," he claimed.
Bhavantar scheme entails paying farmers the difference between the Minimum Support Price and the 'model rate' of a crop (calculated from prices data from the Centre and local markets) if the model rate is lower.
Sinha also alleged that farmers are being paid as little as Rs 20 under the crop insurance scheme. "This is a mockery of farmers," he said.
Yesterday, speaking to reporters in Jabalpur, Sinha had said as he could not get an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite seeking time some 13 months ago, he decided he would not meet anyone in the government, and instead express his views in the public.
Today's BJP was far different from the one when Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani were at the helm, he had said.
Sinha participated in an agitation launched by farmers whose lands have been acquired for the NTPC's coal-fired project at Gadarwara today evening.
The NTPC had promised them jobs while acquiring their lands, the farmers have claimed, demanding that the promise be kept.
Sinha assured the agitators that he will come back to support them if the NTPC did not concede their demands.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)