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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

After FDI success, UPA looks to push reforms agenda

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times   New Delhi , December 06, 2012
First Published: 23:19 IST(6/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:21 IST(6/12/2012)

After its victory in the Lok Sabha in the debate on FDI in multi-brand retail, a rejuvenated UPA government plans to push its long-pending reforms-related bills in the winter session of Parliament.

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The government will bring the Banking Laws (amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha on Monday and has already sought time from the lower House for discussion and passing of the Forward Contracts Regulation (amendment) Bill or FCRA.

In a last-ditch effort to bring the much-awaited land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement bill in this session, the cabinet may meet on December 11 to approve the draft.

A top Congress functionary, however, told HT that the UPA remains unsure about the Insurance Act (Amendment) Bill as the government is yet to reach an agreement with the opposition on fixing the FDI cap in insurance sector. The government wants 49% FDI while the Opposition wants to retain its cap at 26%.

The UPA, under normal circumstances, doesn’t enjoy majority in Rajya Sabha where the Bill is currently stuck.

The Left and Trinamool are totally opposed to all reforms bills. But the UPA expects flexibility from other opposition parties on reforms bills, including the pension fund (PFRDA) bill. The government hopes to win over the BJP’s support on pension bill as it has accepted its proposal to provide assured minimum return on pension funds.

Chances of the passage of FCRA and banking bill has brightened as another key opposition party, Naveen Patnaik’s BJD, has softened its stand. “We may not issue any whip on the FCRA and banking bills,” BJD’s chief whip in Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtad told HT,

For more than two years, the UPA hasn’t been able to pass any reforms-related bills in Parliament.

“Finance minister P Chidambaram is directly talking to opposition parties to build consensus on these bills,” said MoS in finance SS Palanimanickam.


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