Sunday 23 October 2016

Insurance Bill Sent to Select Committee of RS

New Delhi

Giving in to opposition pressure, the government today referred the controversial Insurance Bill to the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha.

The House adopted a motion in this regard after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved it while informing members that the panel has been asked to look into the Bill and submit its report on the last day of the first week of the next session.

The Committee will have Chandan Mitra, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Jagat Prakash Nadda (all BJP), Anand Sharma, BK Hariprasad and JD Seelam (all Cong), Satish Chandra Misra (BSP), KC Tyagi (JD-U), Derek O'Brien (TMC), V Maitreyan (AIADMK), Naresh Gujral (SAD), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), Kalpataru Das (BJD), P Rajiv (CPI-M) and Rajiv Chandrasekhar (Ind) as its members.

The government had to buckle under the opposition pressure after it failed to convince an adamant opposition to get its support for the first major economic reform initiative of the new government.

Cutting across party lines, major opposition parties had joined hands on the issue demanding that the Bill be sent to the Select Committee.

The bill, which proposes to hike FDI limit in insurance sector to 49 per cent, was caught in logjam with the Congress-led opposition insisting that certain new provisions incorporated in the bill required a fresh look and expert consideration.

Though government was confident of getting the bill passed in Lok Sabha, it was wary of its passage in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA does not enjoy majority.

Though government had earlier listed the bill in Rajya Sabha, it was deferred and, strategically, not listed later as it continued consultations with various parties for support.

With a view to gaining support, the government has made it clear that it is open to amendments in the bill.

Congress, which had supported a hike in the FDI cap when it was in power, wanted the bill to be referred to a Select Committee for threadbare examination of the issue since the government has brought some amendments.

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