Insurance & Coal Bills Get LS Nod – New Delhi: Our Political Bureau

SHOW BEGINS ON MONDAY An opening for joint sitting; Congress abstention indicative of RS hurdle where govt faces real test
The government cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday, when the Lok Sabha passed two key economic legislations -the bill to enhance FDI cap to 49% in the insurance sector and the Coal Mines Bill to allow e-auction of coal blocks -by whistling past the Left’s opposition.
Congress members present in the House refused to vote along with the ruling side on the insurance bill and chose to abstain for all but one Leftpressed amendments. Congress’ noncommittal tactic, according to party sources, could turn into aggressive opposition when the bill reaches Opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha next week. By evening a Congress spokesperson waved the red rag by saying the party will oppose the bill in the Rajya Sabha for the “manner and method“ in which the government introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha when an identical bill was property of the Upper House. If the government still persists with its introduction, Opposition may demand it be referred to a select committee.
With the LS clearance for the bills, the government faces the most crucial test next week in the Rajya Sabha, when Opposition parties plan to erect a united resistance against the government on the insurance bill.According to sources, the Coal Bill has brighter chances of clearing the Rajya Sabha. The government side is trying to woo many smaller Opposition parties to pass the RS test.
The passage of these two bills by the Lok Sabha means the government has opened the possibility of a joint sitting of Parliament, if the Opposition defeats these bills. What happens if the bill is stuck due to disruptions is anybody’s guess.
Soon after the insurance bill was passed, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said the government had the option of calling a joint session. Replying to the debate, Sinha said the legislations will boost capital inflow into the sector and will help larger penetration of insurance covers for Indians.However, Sinha termed the Left’s opposition as a result “of their inadequate understanding of how the financial sector works“. It triggered a protest by the Opposition which alleged Sinha was arrogant in his attitude. The ruling side bought peace by making Sinha extend an apology for his remarks.
The LS also passed the coal bill by brushing aside LeftBJD amendments. Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said its passage will ensure “transparent“ auctioning of coal blocks.
Cong Mulls Breach of Privilege Motion Against Narendra Modi
MUMBAI: Congress has indicated it would move a breach of privilege motion against PM Modi, and seek to censure him for maintaining in the Upper House that many UPA schemes were merely re-cycling of Vajpayee regime’s schemes. “It is appalling a person no less that the PM can resort to such falsehoods…in the Rajya Sabha. We…will explore all avenues to deal with it.“

Source : The Economics Times
Date : 5th March 2015


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