FM hopeful of banking bill

 Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday expressed renewed hope that the much-awaited banking bill will be passed this week, after he held talks with opposition leaders on proposed changes to banking rules.

The Banking Laws Amendment Bill is a key reform proposal aimed at strengthening the Reserve Bank of India’s regulatory powers and making it easier for banks to raise capital to boost lending.

The proposals include increasing the voting rights of shareholders in private banks to 26 per cent from 10 per cent and strengthening the central bank’s regulatory powers.

The RBI has not issued new bank licenses for several years now, asking the government to first enact the legislation.

The opposition says that the government added some additional clauses after the bill was cleared by a Parliamentary panel on finance. The BJP is against introducing the provision which relates to banks operating in commodities futures trade.

“I have discussed all five key economic reforms bills with two leaders of opposition. I sincerely hope that the principal opposition party would cooperate,” he told reporters. Sources said the two leaders were Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

Sources in Congress, however, said that Swaraj and Jaitley may be in agreement but Chidambaram needed to convince senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who is vociferously opposing the changes incorporated by the Finance Ministry.

The key economic reform bills which are pending before Parliament include Banking Laws Amendment Bill, Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, Micro Finance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill besides Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill.

Comments (+)