Undeterred by the outcome on Wednesday, the CPM has decided to pitch for a fresh battle in the Lok Sabha. This time, it would be only over the amendments made to the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
The Lok Sabha rejected 254-224 an amendment moved by Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy to the government’s modifications to FEMA through an RBI notification facilitating FDI in retail.
“Definitely,” CPM group leader in the Lok Sabha Basudeb Acharia said when asked if his party would move an amendment. “We will go ahead sometime next week, after the Rajya Sabha debate on FDI.” He added there was ample time for his party to challenge the FEMA modification in the Lok Sabha.
CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta, however, said, “We have not decided yet (whether we would move an amendmen to the modification).”
FEMA provisions allow members to move amendments to the RBI notification within 30 working days from the date of its tabling in Parliament — November 30 in this case. The deadline will not expire even when the winter session ends, meaning the modification can be challenged during the budget session too.
Voting on the same issue a second time can become inevitable should any member wish so. Yashwant Sinha of the BJP, Acharia and Dasgupta had opposed the idea of clubbing the two matters on Tuesday, citing their right to oppose FEMA changes within 30 working days. Speaker Meira Kumar stated in her ruling the “the effect of adoption of the motion under Rule 184 is different from that of motions for modification...yet the subject matter ... is same”. “Therefore,” she said, “in order to avoid repetition of debate on this subject, I, in my discretion, decided to allow a combined debate.” However, she added, The 30 days’ period you all were concerned about, that remains intact. It is not taken away. It is intact and can be exercised according to Section 48 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.”