Amended Insurance Bill to be referred to panel

In view of its failure to get the Congress support on introducing the amended Insurance Bill in Parliament, the Centre has decided to refer it to a select committee.

The government is expected to bring a motion in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday to announce that the Insurance Bill will be referred to a select committee, which will be given a time frame to submit its report to Parliament.

The legislation seeks to hike Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the insurance sector.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has conveyed the prime minister’s intention to the Congress and other opposition parties, which submitted a signed letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan conveying that a select committee should look into the 97 proposed amendments.

Of them, only 11 have been suggested by the NDA government. The rest were proposed by the previous Congress-led UPA, which could not get the Bill passed because of the stiff opposition from the BJP that time.

The BJP has decided to nominate three MPs – Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, J P Nadda and Chandan Mitra — to the panel that will be set up by the Rajya Sabha. The representation in the committee will be based on the strength of the party in the Upper House, where the BJP is in minority.

The Congress, which had conceived the idea of opening up the insurance sector in 2004, had shot down the government’s move to allow the hike in FDI from 26 per cent to 49 per cent through a wider window that also included FIIs. 

Though the BJP was willing to consider alterations suggested by the Congress to win over the nine other smaller opposition parties, it could not get its way as the AIADMK also joined the pack, adding to the non-NDA strength in the Rajya Sabha.

It is learnt that the government has requested that the report on the Bill be submitted before the next sitting of Parliament.

 The Congress is likely to propose the names of former ministers Jairam Ramesh and Anand Sharma for the panel.

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