Insurance Bill Further Delayed, Informal Talks On

The Insurance Bill is not coming up in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow as the deadlock continues over referring it to the select committee despite Modi government's efforts to rally the Opposition for bringing on track its first major economic reform initiative.

As the Opposition stuck to its stand, government sought their cooperation for passage of the "most progressive reform" at a time when penetration of insurance was very low.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told PTI that government was ready to accept any meaningful suggestion from the opposition and was awaiting their response after yesterday's meeting to thrash out consensus.

"Country needs investment and in larger interest of the country and for betterment of economy the Bill is needed as people's interest are paramount," he said, making a pitch for early passage.

Informal consultations took place today between Naidu, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Congress leader Anand Sharma.

Naidu said the Bill has already been through the Standing Committee, which had deliberated on it for long.

He said the government would not have clamoured for foreign investment if resources were available domestically.

When told that parties like Congress have problems over the FII provision in the Bill, Naidu said: "Whatever is their concern they should say it. I hope they will come back and there would be meeting of minds."

Naidu's remarks came even as opposition parties insisted on referring the first major economic reform initiative of the Narendra Modi government to a select committee.

The Insurance Laws Amendment Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2008. The Bill seeks to raise foreign investment cap in the sector to 49 per cent, with management control in the hands of Indian promoters. At present 26 per cent FDI is allowed in insurance.

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