Parliament approves Insurance Bill

Parliament tonight approved the NDA government's first major economic reform measure as the long-pending bill providing for raising foreign investment cap to 49 per cent in insurance was passed by Rajya Sabha after main opposition Congress and some other parties came on board.

The controversial Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which replaced an ordinance promulgated in December last, was passed by voice vote after walkout by Trinamool Congress and DMK.

The smooth sailing of the bill in the Upper House, where the ruling NDA is in a minority, was possible with the help of opposition parties like Congress, AIADMK, NCP and BJD besides allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal.

The bill was introduced this evening after a heated debate and adjournments over technicalities as a similar legislation was pending in the House.

The original bill, which was brought by Congress in 2008, was withdrawn and the new bill was passed after a debate of about two-and-a-half hours.

Trinamool Congress and Left parties strongly opposed the measure. While Trinamool, DMK as also SP, BSP and JD(U) staged a walkout, Left members moved amendments which were negated.

The bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha on March 4, provides for raising the foreign investment cap in insurance sector from 26 per cent 49 per cent and is expected to bring in funds to the thousands of crores. 

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