An all-party meeting on Monday failed to hammer out a consensus over the controversial Insurance Bill, which was scheduled to be taken up in Rajya Sabha.
Leaders agreed to hold a fresh round of consultations in the next two days as the brief meeting in Parliament House remained inconclusive. “The meeting remained inconclusive. We have agreed to meet again in the next two days to arrive at a consensus on the possible formulation of the legislation,” said Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel.
NCP and Biju Janata Dal have decided to support the bill in the form it was cleared by the Union Cabinet recently. Monday’s meeting was part of the government initiative to take opposition leaders in Rajya Sabha on board on the key bill.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu attended the meeting which took place against the backdrop of nine opposition parties giving a notice to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari for referring the bill to a select committee.
The National Democratic Alliance does not have a majority in the Upper House and will have to seek the support of other parties to move its first major economic reforms legislation for consideration.
With the opposition demanding that the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill be referred to a Select Committee, the government on Sunday night had deferred its plan to move the bill for consideration in Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had on Sunday said the Finance Minister and he will talk to leaders of Congress and opposition parties on various aspects of the bill that seeks to raise the foreign direct investment cap in the insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.
Naidu had appealed to the opposition to cooperate in passing the bill, saying the 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 had said.
Naidu had 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.
Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Dravidra Munnetra Kazagham, Janata Dal-United, Trinamool Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal have given a notice to the Rajya Sabha Chairman for referring the bill to a select committee.