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|November 30, 1999||
Lok Sabha takes up IRA bill for discussion
The Lok Sabha today took up for discussion the controversial Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Bill 1999 seeking to open up the insurance business to the private sector amidst protest by the left and some other parties.
Moving the bill for consideration of the house, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said the bill would provide for the establishment for an authority for the protection of the interests of the holders of insurance policies and also promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance industry in the country.
Sinha said opening up of the insurance sector will bring in much needed funds for developing infrastructure. At the same time, he said, enough steps have been taken to protect the domestic players. The bill was introduced amid protests by the left parties on the last day of the first session of the 13th Lok Sabha.
Kirit Somayya (BJP), initiating the debate, said certain precautions were necessary for safeguarding the country's interests. He cautioned against the possibility of insurance companies enhancing their stake by more than 26 per cent indirectly, besides checking the capital market manipulation by the new entrants. Gita Mukherjee (CPI), opposing the bill, said the vital sector should not be opened up to the multinational companies as there was possibility of funds being deployed for speculative purposes rather than socially relevant sectors.
A last ditch attempt by the left parties to block consideration of the bill failed with the deputy speaker P M Sayeed ruling that its consideration could not be kept pending indefinitely till the constitution of Parliament's petitions committee.
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