Jaitley, TMC spar over insurance bill

Minister blames Didi's party for stalling proceedings

A day after tabling the GST bill in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday that the government was determined to push other bills like insurance bill, but obliquely blamed the Trinamool Congress (TMC) for obstructing the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha where the bill is pending.

“The political party, whose members are allegedly involved in a chit fund scam, is trying to divert attention by creating obstruction in the functioning of the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not have a majority,” he said in a veiled reference to the TMC.

Speaking at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry annual general meeting, Jaitley said the government was extremely determined to go ahead with the insurance sector reform and would not allow Parliamentary disturbance to obstruct the bill.

The TMC, however, retorted saying that Jaitley was indulging in a street-slanging match and that the BJP was trying to pass the buck on to the ruling party in West Bengal. “The BJP should fight us politically. Don’t play these dirty games, Mr Jaitley. Don’t make it a street-slanging match,” TMC leader and Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien tweeted.
He said that the BJP should also pull up old records and see how they used to disrupt the Rajya Sabha when they were in the Opposition.

The insurance bill that seeks to raise the FDI cap in the sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent has not come up in the Rajya Sabha so far for discussion despite being cleared by the Standing Committee on Finance.

The Opposition has been disrupting the proceedings on one issue or the other in the House ever since the winter session began late last month.

With two more days to go before the current session comes to an end, the government is hoping to get the insurance and coal sector bills through. These legislations have a larger ramification for the overall economy.

“The whole object seems to be don't allow these legislations to come up for debate...and the reason for political obstructionism is one political party finds its members involved in something which is unsavoury and therefore to divert attention from that use obstructionism as an instrument,” Jaitley said.

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