The government’s decision to push through the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill in the current session of Parliament evoked mixed reactions.
While former finance minister P Chidambaram lauded the decision to introduce the Bill in Rajya Sabha, Left leaders said they would push for the proposed legislation to be first vetted by the Standing Committee on Finance. “A tortuous journey of two years has reached a crucial milestone and I sincerely hope that the Bill will be passed in this Session,” Chidambaram said in a statement, adding that “The far sighted policies of the UPA government have yielded, and will yield, good results.”
The UPA government, starting from its first term in 2004, was pushing for an increase in the foreign direct investment limit for the insurance sector to 49 per cent from the existing 26 per cent but was stalled by its Left allies at the time. It finally introduced the Bill in the Rajya Sabha in 2008 but it could not be enacted.
Recalling his meetings with the then Leaders of the Opposition — Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley since August 2012, Chidambaram said the UPA government had finally agreed to all suggestions but “I was finally told in December 2013 that the BJP did not have the appetite to pass any more Bills during the remaining tenure of the UPA government.”