Suspense mounts over insurance bill; Opposition demands for in-depth consideration by a Select Committee

Aug 04 2014, 23:02 IST
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A meeting of political parties convened by Venakaih Naidu failed to break the deadlock on getting the Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha. (PTI) A meeting of political parties convened by Venakaih Naidu failed to break the deadlock on getting the Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha. (PTI)
SummaryA meeting of political parties convened by Venkaiah Naidu failed to break the deadlock on getting the Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha.

Suspense mounted today over passage of the Insurance Bill with Opposition parties stepping up their demand for its in-depth consideration by a Select Committee even as government hinted at a joint session of Parliament to ensure it is passed.

A meeting of political parties convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu failed to break the deadlock on getting the Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha where the government does not have the required numbers.

The Bill has again not been listed for consideration tomorrow and there are indications that another meeting of political parties may be held in two days to iron out differences.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival from Nepal and are believed to have apprised him of the developments on the insurance bill.

At the end of the day, Jaitley said the government will have political and constitutional remedies available to it in case Congress resorts to obstruction of the crucial legislation to allowing 49 per cent FDI in insurance sector.

He said that Congress has the option of either approving the bill, reject the bill or get the language of the bill amended but it cannot have the luxury of permanently obstructing it.

Asked about the possibility of a joint session of Parliament to get over the obstacle of lack of numbers in Rajya Sabha, he hoped that the situation does not arise.

"But we will have political and constitutional remedies available (to us)," he said in an apparent reference to the possibility of joint session of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to ensure its passage.

At best, he said, the Congress' obstruction could delay the Bill by six months because that is the maximum period under the Constitution a Bill can be stalled before a joint session is called.

Maintaining that the Congress is not well advised to resort to obstructionism, Jaitley said, the government will have to "leap over" the obstruction at some stage.

Stating that he was willing to consider modification in the language of the Bill as may be suggested by the Congress, Finance Minister said he had offered Anand Sharma of Congress to correct the language of the Bill as he wanted at the all party meeting this morning.

However, the Congress sought to keep the government on the tenter hooks, saying it should take on board all stakeholders and favoured the amendments to the Insurance Act to be considered

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