While the pension Bill looks set to get parliamentary approval in this session with BJP,the principal opposition,agreeing to it,prospects of another key law,the insurance Bill,looked bright on Monday with the Janata Dal (United) declaring its support for it.
The Janata Dal (United) will support the pension and insurance Bills in parliament, party secretary-general,spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member K C Tyagi told The Indian Express.
Explaining the partys position,he said that the pension and insurance Bills had been formulated during the NDA regime. How can we go back on them now? he asked. The JD(U) has 20 MPs in the Lok Sabha.
JD(U) MP N K Singh said: We believe that it is in the countrys overall interest to get long-term capital flows. All measures,which will help to tide over the current account deficit,are welcome. He added that the government was yet to take up the insurance Bill and had not come to his party with the exact formulation: 49 per cent FDI or a mix of FDI and FII or increasing the FDI ceiling while keeping the voting cap intact. The BJP wants a cap of 26% on FDI and 23% on FII.
At a meeting between Finance Minister P Chidambaram and senior BJP leaders including Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley respectively and Yashwant Sinha,the opposition party had agreed to support the Pension Bill but refused to back the Insurance Bill.
The opposition,it was learnt,was divided on the issue of the partys stance on the Insurance Bill with a section of senior leaders supporting it on the plea that the BJPs economic philosophy is different from the Lefts. At a time when arendra Modi is showcasing his Gujarat development model in the run-up to next years general elections,the opposition party could ill-afford to be seen as stalling economic reforms just for the sake of opposing the UPA,argue BJP leaders who are not in agreement with the party leaderships stand on this issue.
With JD(U) also supporting the Insurance Bill,the government has the numbers in Parliament to push the Insurance Bill through as in case of FDI in retail sector but it is learnt to be weighing its options. Asked if the government would try to get the Insurance Bill passed in the current session,Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told The Indian Express,We are going to bring the Pension Bill for passage. We have not taken any decision on the Insurance Bill yet.
The UPA government is keen to get parliamentary approval for the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill this week and it was listed today in the Lok Sabha which was adjourned after condoling the death of BJP MP Dilip Singh Judeo. Official sources said that once the Pension Bill is through,the government would finalise its strategy on the Insurance Bill.