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UPA looking to push reforms

business Updated: Jul 23, 2008 21:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The Left support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government did not come cheap in the past four years, and the government on Wednesday said it would press ahead with key liberalisation initiatives that the key ally was vetoing.

The government had proposed a new round of liberalisation initiatives in banking, pension, retail sector and labour laws among others.

A day after the government survived the trust vote on the India-US civilian nuclear agreement, finance minister P Chidambaram said the government would try to speed up reforms. “We will try to take the reform process forward,” Chidambaram told reporters in Jaipur. “The insurance bill is one of many bills which is pending.”

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill introduced in Parliament in 2005 is stalled because the Left opposes a clause providing voting rights to private investors in nationalised banks in line with their shareholding. The Left wants voting rights capped at 10 per cent, irrespective of shares held.

The Left also vetoed a government proposal to increase the ceiling on FDI in insurance companies to 49 per cent from 26 per cent.

A Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill to reform pension fund management, that could usher in private funds to manage savings of employees, has also been stymied by the Left’s opposition.

The government, Chidambaram said, would “reach out to other parties” to build majority to pass the bills. “I am confident that we can secure a comfortable majority for many of these bills if we talk to the other parties and that is what I intend to do,” he said.