PC to seek consensus on FDI cap hike in insurance

PC to seek consensus on FDI cap hike  in insurance

 With the Parliament set to convene on August 5, union finance minister P Chidambaram said he will meet leaders of political parties on Saturday to bring a consensus on hiking FDI cap in insurance sector.

“On the Insurance Bill, we will meet on August 3. I will meet leaders of the Opposition and I hope that they will give me final view on that clause. I hope it will be a positive response,” he told reporters at a press conference in the national capital. 

As of now the investment cap in the insurance sector is limited to 26 percent but the UPA government wants to take it to 49 percent to what they claim for infusing funds into the stagnant business area. 

The Insurance Amendment Bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha since 2008 due to strong opposition from the BJP and Left parties.   The parliamentary standing committee, headed by BJP MP Yashwant Sinha, has already rejected the government proposition of lifting the cap and it is unlikely that it will budge from its stand given the fact that parties are in election mode.

"The Pension Bill itself is not controversial. Whatever FDI is there in the insurance law will be the FDI in the pension law. Even if the Insurance Bill does not pass, the Pension Bill can pass,” Chidambaram, however, emphasised.

 On other important economic reform linked bills like Goods and Services Tax (GST), the minister seemed not very confident of making it to Parliament. 

“The Constitutional Amendment Bill has to go to the Empowered Committee of Finance Ministers. In the meanwhile they are expected to get the Standing Committee's report. I can't put a time frame on that because there are three different bodies to be consulted–Law Ministry, Standing Committee Report and the Empowered Committee,” he said.

The minister, however, ruled out the possibility of early elections.

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