Shiv Sena also to scuttle insurance bill

Shiv Sena also to scuttle insurance bill

For the upbeat Modi government, the opposition to its insurance sector reform agenda has come from within.

Ally Shiv Sena has raised the red flag over the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill that seeks to increase the FDI limit in the sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.
“Our position has not changed. We had opposed the Insurance Bill during the Congress regime, we continue with our stand,” Shiv Sena spokesman Arvind Sawant told Deccan Herald.

The Sena has been pitching for a level playing field for the public sector insurance companies and those belonging to the private sector.

“We have seen the ill-effects private participation in the banking sector. Private banks are least interested in opening branches in rural areas. It is left to the PSU banks to launch schemes like the Jan Dhan Yojana to ensure financial inclusion,” Sawant argued.

Sawant said the Sena had raised similar objections during the UPA rule but could not get satisfactory answers. It now awaits the Modi government’s response on the issue.

The Left parties, the Trinamool Congress, the Janata Dal (United) have been opposing changes to the insurance laws to allow greater FDI participation. The BJP too had opposed the Bill while in the opposition, but is now pushing for its early passage.

The Modi government wanted to get the Bill passed in Parliament during the Budget Session but the Congress raised some technical issues and succeeded in having it referred to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.

BJP member Chandan Mitra, the chairman of the committee, told Deccan Herald that he would present the report on the Bill to the Rajya Sabha before December 12.

The recommendations of the Select Committee are binding on the government. It is learnt that the Congress and the BJP have agreed to re-wording relevant sections of the Bill to accommodate concerns.

Rejecting reports that the Bahujan Samaj Party has joined opposition ranks on the Insurance Bill, party chief Mayawati said “unnecessary” steps will not be taken in this regard.

“The Bill is before the Select Committee. If our suggestions are agreed to, then why should we unnecessarily oppose it,” Mayawati told reporters here.

“We want insurance reforms at the earliest and I am confident of getting the support of major opposition parties as they have all given a commitment,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

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