various decisions taken by different governments had been changed later. The NDA’s Balco residual stake sale to Anil Agarwal being turned down by the UPA is a case in point.
Though Sinha said his insurance Bill had originally wanted a 23% stake for FII/NRI/OCB in addition to 26% FDI, he said the standing committee would have to examine it afresh.
The BJP, he said, preferred a more widely-held structure in which the foreign and Indian promoters each held 26% of the equity with foreign institutional investors and the Indian public accounting for the rest. “The government has not come to us with a proposal to increase allow FIIs to hold 23%. If they do, we will consider it,” Sinha said, pointing out that when the NDA government had wanted FIIs to be allowed to invest in insurance companies, the Congress party had shot down the proposal. “The Congress told us that on the pain of death that we couldn’t raise the FDI limit to 49%,” Sinha said.
“Don't blame the BJP for the delay in GST,” Sinha said. “It is all due to the government and its penchant for developing wisdom and adding new things to Bills every day – the government's wisdom tooth is getting bigger by the day!” Outlining the history of GST, Sinha said his standing committee had planned to give its recommendations in the Monsoon Session but the finance ministry never gave its final view on the Bill. Later, when the new finance minister P Chidambaram came in, he began discussions afresh with the group of state finance ministers and even appointed two committees to examine the issue. We wrote to the finance ministry, Sinha said, to ask which was the final GST Bill that needed to be examined. “We were told the committees will submit their reports by December 31, after which the finance ministry will apply its mind to whether any new amendments were needed… So don't blame us for any delay.”