|Abhishek Banerjee is the nephew|
of WB CM, Ms.Mamata Banerjee
Photo: All India Trinamool Congress
It would not be an exaggeration to mention here that the Bharatiya Janata Party had opposed reforms on a number of occasions in the past.
In case of Insurance Bill, while the Standing Committee on Finance led by former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had advised against hiking the foreign direct investment cap in the insurance sector to 46%, the BJP along with Left parties had also opposed any such move way back in 2004.
“Hum virodh karenge (we will oppose it),” former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said in July 2004 when former finance minister P Chidambaram had announced in his Budget speech for 2004-05 that the UPA would amend increase the FDI cap in insurance sector to 49% from the existing 26%.
While in later years the party (BJP) had once again expressed tacit support to the plan, its stance changed after Sinha had in December 2011 in its report on the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008, opposed a higher limit for foreign investments in the sector.
“The Committee are of the considered view that in the present global economic scenario, any further hike in FDI at this juncture may not be in the interest of the Indian insurance industry, whereby the common man too would not stand to gain through insurance, particularly as a means of social security,” said the report, adding that insurers should instead raise capital from the markets. On being contacted by The Indian Express, Sinha declined to comment on the issue.
But with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha, the report seems to have been set aside. Finance minister Arun Jaitley tabled a fresh Bill in Parliament to raise the FDI limit in the insurance sector.
Interestingly, the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Chandan Mitra, who was chairman of the Rajya Sabha select committee that recently submitted a report endorsing the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008, says he won over Congress members of Parliament (MPs) by persuading them it was “their Bill”.