With the opposition demanding that the Insurance(amendment) bill be referred to a Select Committee, Government tonight deferred its plan to move the NDA's first major economic reforms legislation for the consideration of Rajya Sabha tomorrow. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said he and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will talk to leaders of Congress and opposition parties tomorrow on various aspects of the bill that seeks to raise the FDI cap in the Insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.
Naidu told PTI that Government does not want to move the Insurance Law Amendment Bill 2008 bill for consideration in the Upper House tomorrow. Government would like to move the bill for consideration thereafter, preferably day after tomorrow," Naidu said. Naidu earlier in the day appealed to the opposition to cooperate in passing the bill, which was listed in the Monday's List of Business of Rajya Sabha for consideration and passing. He said that government is ready to consider any "meaningful suggestions" of the Opposition.
"I fervently appeal to Congress and other opposition parties to enable passing the proposed legislation for enabling 49 per cent foreign investment in Insurance Sector, in this Budget Session of Parliament in the larger national interest. Spirit of constructive cooperation on issues of economic development need to be the basis of Parliamentary democracy," he told reporters in Hyderabad. Naidu said the Bill seeks to provide for the much desired capital inflows into the Insurance Sector since the penetration of insurance coverage in the country is being adversely impacted on account of inadequate investments. "The insurance companies have been unable to expand their reach. That's why we are proposing this amendment. We need the support of other parties in Rajya Sabha, where the Government does not have a majority," he said.
When the present NDA government has proposed taking up the said Insurance Bill for consideration in the Rajya Sabha, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram welcomed the same and sincerely hoped that the Bill will be passed in the current Budget Session of Parliament. "I agree with his comment that 'government is a continuing entity and each government should build on what has been accomplished by previous government'," Naidu said. Congress, CPI-M, CPI, SP, BSP, DMK, JD (U), Trinamool Congress and RJD have given a notice to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari for referring the bill to a Select Committee.
AIADMK, which despite not being an ally supports the government on key issues, has also agreed to back the nine parties in the endeavour though it is not a signatory to the notice. Naidu's appeal for support came even as CPI said that all trade unions, including the BJP affiliate Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, in insurance sector will go on a strike tomorrow to protest the NDA government's move to raise the FDI cap.