Coaching class for FDI test in Parliament - The New Indian Express

Coaching class for FDI test in Parliament

Published: 04th December 2012 09:55 AM

Last Updated: 04th December 2012 09:55 AM

Hours before Parliament discusses the Foreign Direct Investment Bill on Tuesday, MPs will have an interactive session organised not by their respective political parties but by PRS Legislative Research on the issue.

The hour-long closed-door meeting to be held on Tuesday morning is strictly for the MPs with an aim to arming them with enough ammunition on the FDI issue. Even staff members of MPs will not be allowed access to the meeting.

The invitation sent to MPs said “several MPs had requested PRS that this meeting be maintained as a closed-door session. Therefore, we will be unable to accommodate your staff.”

“The talk will focus on issues related to FDI in retail sector, opportunities and challenges in the current policy environment. The speakers will talk international comparisons for FDI,” the  letter said.

PRS recently courted controversy with the Union Home Ministry barring a PRS company- IPRS _ from receiving contributions from US-based Ford Foundation and Omidyar Network for research assistance to Indian MPs through LAMP programme. The PRS Legislative Research provides research materials on legislative Bills and under LAMP scheme it places one legislative assistant to work with an MP for a period of 11 months.

The Home Ministry, citing the reports of Intelligence agencies, had remarked that it would not be desirable for MPs to receive research support from LAMP fellows paid out of foreign funds. It had also said ‘undue influence’ to legislators at later stages cannot be overruled.

Some MPs had met Union home secretary R K Singh in October after the Home Ministry order and requested him to ‘examine the matter with an open mind.’

PRS in its services to the MPs on its website mentioned that it organises MP-Expert Interactive closed-door interactive sessions, exclusively for MPs, with relevant experts in various areas. It claims to have held such sessions on new frontiers in agriculture, situation in Pakistan, and SEZs.

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