Congress leader Rashid Alvi on Monday said they have been continuously saying that the NDA Government should arrive at a consensus, and then move forward with the Insurance Amendment Bill. "We were continuously saying that the government should talk to every party and make consensus. Just having a talk is not important. If you have a talk, and then do what you want to, then, it doesn't make any sense. You talk, make consensus, and then move forward."
When asked if the opposition will support the Insurance Amendment Bill, Alvi told ANI, "How can I say this? Consensus means talking everybody's opinion and moving ahead with it." The union government is proposing to raise the foreign direct investment cap in the insurance sector to 49 percent from existing 26 percent. This bill is touted as a potential lifeline for a sector starved of capital and squeezed by regulations.
The previous UPA Government's approval for a proposal to raise the limit to 49 percent has been kept pending for a long time due to opposition by politicians, frustrating many overseas investors lured by low penetration rates in India. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his budget speech that the "composite cap" in the insurance sector should be increased to 49 per cent from the current level of 26 per cent, with full Indian management and control.
According to sources, an all party meet called by the government today on Insurance Bill in parliament has ended inconclusively. The meeting was attended by Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss the bill with the leaders of the opposition today to understand their concerns and address them. Sources also indicate that the government is likely to hold another round of discussion with the opposition parties after two days on this issue.