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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Lack of time, numbers may hold up key reform bills

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 03, 2012
First Published: 00:35 IST(3/12/2012) | Last Updated: 01:35 IST(3/12/2012)

The UPA government’s plan to pass several key reforms-related bills — in the financial as well as social sector — may only see partial success, given that there is not enough Opposition support and only 13 working days left of the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

Not one major reforms bill has got Parliament approval in the past two years due to lack of political consensus.

The pending bills include pension fund reforms, food security, amendments to the Insurance Act and banking law and a replacement for the archaic Land Acquisition Act of 1894.

While the bills on companies law, amendments to the forward contracts regulation and the banking laws are unlikely to face stiff resistance, categorical assurances are still awaited for some of the others. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/12/03_12_12-metro1.jpg

The government had already accommodated BJP's concerns on the Pension Fund Bill by introducing three amendments, its fate continues to remain uncertain as the principal opposition party may link it to the Insurance Bill.

The BJP is understood to have raised objections to raising the FDI cap to 49% in the insurance sector and might eventually shoot down both bills.

"The BJP's structured response can come only when the fine print is known to us," party chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told HT.

The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, the two key outside supporters of the government, also have reservations on these two bills and the Left parties are opposed to all financial reforms-related bills.

"Finance minister P Chidambaram is talking to other parties and trying to build consensus on these bills," parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said.

The UPA government's ambitious Land Acquisition Bill is yet to get cabinet approval and some senior ministers are reportedly not happy with the latest draft, while the Food Security Bill - another key social sector bill  - also has a dim chance of passage in this session as the standing committee examining it is yet to give its report.


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