NDA govt pushes for Insurance Bill

Centre considers taking up Bill in winter session

NDA govt pushes for Insurance Bill

With the Congress insisting on referring the Insurance Bill to a select committee, the government on Tuesday continued hectic backroom parleys with an aim to have the economic reform measure passed by Parliament before the Budget Session ends next week.

However, NDA floor managers were also weighing options of taking up the Bill that seeks to hike the foreign investment cap in insurance sector in the winter session of Parliament.

“We are also looking at taking up the Bill later,” a senior minister said but refused to say whether it would accede to the Congress demand of referring it to a select committee.
The Bill did not come up for discussion at the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of the Rajya Sabha that finalises the agenda for the upcoming week.

Congress deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma had a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, but the meeting is learnt to have remained inconclusive.

Five more sittings of the Budget Session remain and the government aims to utilise the time to get Parliament nod for four Bills, including the two labour reforms initiatives which were approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

The government has also agreed to have a short duration discussion on incidents of communal violence, which could be taken up in the Lok Sabha on Monday. “Some backroom talks are going on. We are in regular touch with political parties. The ball is in the Congress court,” a senior minister said.

In addition, the government could also introduce the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill and the Juvenile Justice (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha next week. Both the Bills are expected to be referred to standing committees. The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill has become a flashpoint between the Congress and BJP with the former insisting that the NDA government come clean on the definition of foreign investment. 

The amendment moved to the Bill does not specify any cap on portfolio investments in the insurance sector. The Congress wants the government to have clarity on it.

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