Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed a bill to hike FDI in insurance sector to 74 per cent from the current 49 per cent. The Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2021, moved by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Upper House, was passed amid uproar as the Congress and other Opposition parties raised strong objections against it.
The opposition to the bill forced adjournments of Rajya Sabha proceedings for four times during the post-lunch sitting as they insisted on referring to a standing committee a bill on raising the FDI in the insurance sector to 74 per cent from the current 49 per cent. Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said it will put the people of country in trouble. He said the Insurance Act 1938 is being amended for the third time under the BJP.
The Act was first amended during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure when 26 per cent FDI was allowed in the insurance sector, he said, adding later in 2015, the law was amended further to allow 49 per cent FDI and now the amendment is for allowing 74 per cent FDI.
“I want the bill scrutinised to address the gaps and it should be referred to a standing committee,” the Congress leader said as his party colleagues rose in support of the demand and began shouting slogans.
Amid sloganeering, BJP leader Bhupender Yadav said Kharge’s statement was “factually incorrect”. Firstly, the Opposition has not given a motion to refer the bill to a select committee under Rule 71 and 72, he said. Secondly, he added, this is the only bill which has been examined by a standing committee, the Law Commission and the Narasimhan Commission and even a select committee of the Upper House.
“The bill has been brought after full scrutiny,” he said, and added that the Congress had also brought a similar bill in 2008 and, thereafter, it was sent to a standing committee. Neither the motion nor the point of order raised by Opposition is correct, he added. As Opposition members trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans, Deputy Chairman Harivansh told them that amendments to refer the bill to a select committee has not been given.
“You did not give any amendments to refer the bill to a select committee. You had time. The House will decide now,” he said, asking the protesting members to go back to their seats and allow the discussion to take place as the motion had been moved.