Insurance Bill passed in Rajya Sabha with Congress' support

In a major breakthrough to the BJP-led NDA government's efforts to push through reforms, the Congress has agreed to support Insurance Laws Amendment Bill in Rajya Sabha, as per reports on Thursday.

Insurance Bill passed in Rajya Sabha with Congress' support

Delhi: In a major breakthrough to the BJP-led NDA government's efforts to push through reforms, the Insurance Laws Amendment Bill, 2015 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

The Congress and some other Opposition parties, like AIADMK, NCP, BJD besides allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal supported the bill ensuring its smooth passage in the Upper House.

The bill was passed by voice vote after walkout by Trinamool Congress and DMK.

The FDI cap in insurance sector has now been raised from the existing 26 percent to 49 percent.

The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on March 4.

The bill will replace the Ordinance issued by the government earlier, which had come under sharp attack from various quarters.

The bill had sought to amend the Insurance Act, 1938 and the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act 1972 and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999.

On the passage of the bill BJP's MA Naqvi said, "I am happy all political parties faced the fact that the Insurance Amendment Bill will be good for the nation," as per ANI.

On the other hand Congress' Renuka Chowdhary said, "Well they wanted to take credit so be it, we supported it for nation."

The passage of the bill must have come as a major relief for the Modi government which has faced tough times from the Opposition in the past in the Rajya Sabha where numbers are not in its favour.

The bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha today but not before a heated debate and adjournments over technicalities as a similar legislation was pending in the House.

The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was introduced after Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien ruled that the new bill, as passed by the Lok Sabha, could be taken up as it was a "unique and unprecedented" situation, as per PTI.

Members from Left parties, TMC and SP questioned as to how a new bill could be introduced when a similar legislation of 2008, which was scrutinised by a Select Committee of Parliament, was pending.

They contended that the House was setting a "wrong precedent" by not approving its listing by the Business Advisory Committee.

Kurien acknowledged that the situation was "unique and unprecedented" but it is up to the House to either allow, withdraw or reject the Bill.

With the House witnessing heated discussions, it was adjourned twice, once for 10 minutes and then again for 30 minutes.

The bill was then taken up for consideration and the previous Bill was withdrawn by Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha.

(With Agency inputs)

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