Insurance Bill Tabled in Rajya Sabha Amid Sparring on Technicalities

| Friday, March 13, 2015 - 08:38
First Published |
Rajya Sabha

NEW DELHI:  A controversial bill providing for raising the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap in the insurance sector was introduced in Rajya Sabha today but not before a heated debate and adjournments over technicalities as a similar legislation was pending in the House.

The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was introduced after Deputy Chairman P J Kurien ruled that the new bill, as passed by the Lok Sabha, could be taken up as it was a "unique and unprecedented" situation.

Members from Left parties, Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party questioned how a new bill could be introduced when a similar legislation of 2008, which was scrutinised by a Select Committee of Parliament, was pending.

They contended that the House is setting a "wrong precedent" by not approving its listing by the Business Advisory Committee.

Mr Kurien acknowledged that the situation was "unique and unprecedented" but it is up to the House to either allow, withdraw or reject the Bill.

The bill seeks to replace an ordinance issued by the government earlier, which had come under sharp attack from various quarters.

With the House witnessing heated discussions, it was adjourned twice, once for 10 minutes and then again for 30 minutes.

The bill was then taken up for consideration and the previous bill was withdrawn by Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha.

It seeks to amend the Insurance Act, 1938 and the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act 1972 and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 and provides for raising FDI cap in insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

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