The National Democratic Alliance government is keen on the passage of the Insurance Bill before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US to send out a message that economic reforms are back on track in India. Anita Katyal reports
Hectic behind-the-scene parleys by the National Democratic Alliance government have failed to placate the opposition on the Insurance Bill that seeks to hike the foreign investment cap in the insurance sector from 26 to 49 per cent.
The ruling alliance is particularly keen on the passage of the Insurance Bill before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in September to send across a message that economic reforms are back on track in India.
The NDA government’s parliamentary managers’ attempt at dividing the opposition on the issue has not been successful so far.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu met Anand Sharma, Congress deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, to work out a compromise. But Sharma is said to have reiterated his party’s position that the bill should go "through the motions of parliamentary processes."
A united opposition in the Rajya Sabha is insisting that the legislation be referred to a Parliamentary panel for greater scrutiny as the government has introduced substantive amendments to the bill that was introduced by the United Progressive Alliance government in 2008.
Doubts have also arisen about the passage of the labour laws that were introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. Although the Factories (Amendment) Bill, the Apprentice (Amendment) Bill and the Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Act were originally introduced by the UPA government in 2011, the Congress maintained these have been altered significantly by the NDA government.
“We will have to examine the bills first…it appears that workers have been denied social benefits in the legislation proposed by this government,” former labour minister and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge told Rediff.com.