Congress keeps up suspense on risk bill

Though its demands over FDI in insurance have been met, the Congress is keeping up the suspense on whether it would support the economic reform measure of the Modi government.

The Congress is not at all keen to give a “blank cheque” to the government. Party leaders said they would first like to see whether the government has incorporated the changes as suggested by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee, in the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill.

The bill, cleared by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday night, is expected to be taken up for consideration and passing next week. “The party’s stand will be known when the bill is taken up in the Rajya Sabha,” AICC spokesman Rajeev Gowda told reporters here.

He said the party may not issue a whip to its members to vote in support of the bill, which is set to be opposed by the Trinamool Congress, Left parties, SP and the JD(U) in the Rajya Sabha. The four parties had given dissent notes when the bill was examined by the select committee.

“It is not our job to pass the bill. It is for the government to ensure that its legislative agenda gets through,” Gowda said.

The Congress considers the insurance bill as “our baby” as it was first moved during the UPA rule. However, the bill could not be passed due to the BJP, which was then the main Opposition party.

A section in the party wants to utilise this occasion to “expose” the BJP’s “U-turn” on the issue. The composite 49 per cent cap would include foreign direct investment, foreign institutional investments, foreign portfolio investments as well as all instruments that may be included as FII at a later date. “Our concerns on the composite nature of FDI have been addressed,” Gowda said.

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