With the Opposition firm on a reference to a Select Committee and the government not inclined to accept the demand, the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008, is unlikely to be taken up in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The government’s stand is that the Bill has already been through the Standing Committee, which had deliberated on it for a long time. Introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2008, the Bill seeks to raise foreign investment cap in the sector to 49 per cent, with management control in the hands of Indian promoters. At present, 26 per cent FDI is allowed in insurance.
The Congress Tuesday questioned the “tearing hurry” on the part of the government to push the Bill and said it will continue to demand that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee.
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Speaking for the first time on the issue, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi rejected the government’s argument that his party is exhibiting double standards by blocking the Bill which it had introduced in the Upper House.
Former commerce minister and the party’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, slammed the government saying it was strange that the Opposition parties were being treated as petitioners to the government. “It is a disrespectful expression that we have given them three options, take it or leave it. This smacks of arrogance,” he said.