Rejecting the demand for referring Insurance Bill to a Select Committee, the government on Thursday said the Congress was 'stonewalling' the key reform measure to deny credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi before he goes to the United States.
Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman also said the government felt let down by the Congress stonewalling its own proposal to hike FDI in insurance to 49 per cent from current 26 per cent.
"Of course, there are whispers that it could be because they do not want to give credit to Modi before he goes to the US. I have reasons to suspect that is true. So, I can't see otherwise any substantial reason for them to say we oppose," she told PTI.
Sitharaman, however, hoped the Bill will be passed in the current session of Parliament which ends on August 14, saying the opposition to the Bill was crumbling and many parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party are willing to support the Bill.
The Congress, which had supported a hike in FDI cap when it was in power, now wants the Bill to be referred a Parliamentary Select Committee for threadbare examination of the issue since the government has brought some amendments.
"We don't see a need. How much time has been spent on it," she said when asked if there is a need to refer the Bill to a Select Committee. "Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been talking to all the parties and I feel let down. The Congress which opposed the Bill when first time National Democratic Alliance brought it in. And (subsequently) when they brought it in we opposed.
"Let us assume that the scores have settled. After we opposed, the Bill went to the Standing Committee and came back with many recommendations. The United Progressive Alliance government then accepted the recommendations made by the Standing Committee, incorporated all the changes. A changed, tweaked Bill was ready for being tabled in the (Rajya Sabha) House. They did not bring it," she said.