Govt mulls alternative plan to pass insurance bill

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 07, 2014 01:13 IST

The government may start working on an alternative plan to pass the controversial Insurance Law Amendment Bill before PM Narendra Modi's US visit next month.

Top sources said that key government managers may consider the option of sending the controversial Insurance Bill — which is stalled in the Upper House — to a select committee provided the Opposition allows the government to pass the Insurance Bill to enhance the foreign investment to 49% through a special session.

So far, this formula is just a suggestion by a section of the government and no final view has been taken.

"A short, 3-4 day-long session can always be held next month to pass the bill after the panel reviews the bill in a few weeks," observed a leader.

Top sources added that Congress leader and former commerce minister Anand Sharma met parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu Tuesday evening to hold back-channel discussions over the insurance bill.

Opposition is keen to send the bill, pending in Rajya Sabha since 2008, to a select panel while the government wants to pass it quickly to send a strong signal to investors.

Rule number 69(2) of the rules and procedures of Rajya Sabha allows a minister to voluntarily refer a bill to a select committee of the Upper House.

In the meeting, "Anand Sharma said let the government bring this motion for a select committee on its own," said a senior functionary. But the government wants a concrete assurance that the Opposition would allow it to pass after the panel's scrutiny.

While parties like Left and the Trinamool are opposed to FDI in insurance, the government may try to reason with the Congress whose government brought the bill in 2008.

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