The HinduLEADING A BATTLE: Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan arrives to inaugurate a convention organised by the LIC Employees Union in protest against the Centre’s move to raise FDI in the insurance sector, in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. Photo: S. Mahinsha
Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan on Sunday accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram of engaging in “anti-national activities” by pushing the ‘imperialistic agenda’ of more foreign direct investment (FDI) in the insurance sector.
Inaugurating a State convention organised by the LIC Employees Union in protest against the Centre’s move to raise the FDI cap in insurance from the existing 26 per cent to 49 per cent, Mr. Achuthanandan said this was akin to killing the goose that laid golden eggs. He said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government seemed to have forgotten that the insurance sector here stood up to the vagaries of the global economic slowdown even as the firms that would now gain entry here had gone down on their knees.
Pointing out that the Parliamentary standing committee on Finance had rejected the proposal to hike the FDI ceiling in the insurance sector, Mr. Achuthanandan said the Cabinet nod contrary to the committee recommendation was tantamount to suicide.
The decision was perplexing as the committee comprised Congress MPs, the Opposition leader said.
Mr. Achuthanandan said the UPA government’s attempt to push the ‘imperialistic agenda’ through its reforms was visible in other sectors as well, with the UDF government in the State too following suit with decisions such as extending ration and welfare scheme benefits through bank accounts. This would rob the people of their benefits and deal a blow to the statutory rationing system. Indications were that the existing subsidies even to domestic LPG would gradually be done away with, Mr. Achuthanandan said.
South Zone Insurance Employees Federation (SZIEF) vice-president N. Ganapathy Krishnan presided over the function.
CPI assistant State secretary C.N. Chandran; the former Minister N.K. Premachandran; SZIEF joint secretary Baby Joseph; All India Insurance Employees Association vice-president M. Kunhikrishnan; and LIC Employees Union Thiruvananthapuram division general secretary P. Raju; spoke.