In a move that will boost sectors hobbled by lack of capital, the finance minister has indicated that the government is confident of getting the Insurance and Pension Bills passed in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament.
"I am reasonably confident that we would be able to pass the Insurance Bill and the Pension Bill in the current session," finance minister P Chidambaram said an interview.
The Insurance Bill seeks to raise foreign investment cap in the sector from 26% to 49%, and the Pension Bill aims to increase it to the same level in pension funds, among other things.
This would bring much-needed capital into the sectors, and give retail investors the confidence to buy these products in a big way. Insurers need funds to maintain healthy capital base, offer a wider bouquet of products and protect consumer interests against insolvency.
The pension bill will pave the way for setting up a regulator for the sector aimed at providing social security to millions of employees through efficient intermediation of long-term household savings.
The finance minister also sounded a stern warning to tax dodgers, announcing that there would be no amnesty for them. "There is no case for amnesty. Almost all returns are online (now) except a small category which was exempt," he said. "We have a huge amount of data which is being mined. Therefore, there is no case for amnesty today."