Politics, not economics, seems to be the priority as the UPA heads into the winter session, perhaps its last opportunity to push its legislative agenda ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
The government is set to push through a slew of bills to carve out a new state and woo voters on social and governance issues but it also has a shot at passing milestone reform measures on insurance and taxation that could dramatically boost the investment climate.
“Our top priority will be the women’s reservation bill and the lokpal bill. Although the bill to create Telengana has not yet been listed, but we will try to expedite its introduction,” parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said. Parliament meets for the winter session from December 5 to December 20.
The fate of two key economic reforms bills - the insurance laws (amendment) bill and the direct taxes code bill — hangs in the balance, with the government hopeful that it will be able to get these passed in this session.
The insurance bill, once passed, will allow upto 49% FDI in the sector, but the principal opposition party the BJP is strongly opposed to such a move.
The DTC bill seeks to overhaul India’s archaic tax laws into a modern regime with proposals to rejig individual and corporate income tax rates and slabs.
With 123 pending bills, the focus will remain on passing some key social sector bills and anti-corruption legislation.