PM says FDI has nothing to do with US

     The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Saturday defended the recent economic reforms announced by the Congress-led UPA Government, saying the decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail has nothing to do with the US. "We are not to be dictated by others," Dr. Singh told mediapersons after the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice Altamas Kabir. The Prime Minister said the reforms would go on. "We have no bitterness with allies who are opposed to economic reforms," said Dr. Singh. Manmohan Singh-led UPA Government is facing intense pressure from the opposition parties over the slew of reforms announced earlier this month. UPA Government has also lost the support of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), which has withdrawn its support over the move to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, a cap on the number of LPG gas and diesel price hike. The Prime Minister also welcomed the Supreme Court's opinion on Presidential reference on allocation of natural resources. The Supreme Court had earlier on Thursday stated that the auction route should be adopted only for the allocation of telecom spectrum, and not for all natural resources. The apex court gave its advisory opinion on the Presidential reference moved by the Centre on whether all natural resources be auctioned in line with its 2G spectrum judgment, or the directive be confined to spectrum alone. A five-judge Constitution Bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, and comprising of Justices D.K. Jain, J.S. Khehar, Dipak Misra and Ranjan Gogoi, ruled that auction is an economic choice, and not a constitutional one. The apex court said that auction is "not the only route" for allocation of natural resources and maintained that public interest must be kept in mind. The Supreme Court further said that it may undertake a judicial review of the government's policies, but left the formulation of policies to the government's discretion.

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