BJP says will oppose FDI moves in pension & insurance
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Finance minister P Chidambaram has said more than once after the Cabinet decisions earlier this month to push the pension and insurance reforms that he would willingly reach out to the Opposition parties including the BJP and get their support to the relevant Bills in Parliament. His optimism would, however, seem ungrounded, going by what the chief of the principal opposition party has to say on this.
Speaking at the Indian Express Group's Idea Exchange programme, BJP president Nitin Gadkari accused the UPA government of "betrayal of trust" as it backtracked on the promise made on the floor of the House that foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail would not be allowed till a broad political consensus had evolved. He clearly indicated that the BJP was "in no mood" to support the insurance and pension Bills in Parliament.
"They (the UPA) commit to something on the floor of the House, and then go against it; how can we believe them? On the issue of FDI in retail, they have committed a breach of trust... We were told (by then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament) that no decision will be taken without talking to us."
When asked pointedly whether the BJP would support the two financial sector Bills in Parliament, Gadkari said given the way the Congress party behaved, the BJP was not in a mood to speak to them (let alone support) . "They (the Congress) have no credibility, no moral standing," he said.
On October 5, the Cabinet approved the insurance Bill which, among other things, would raise the cap of FDI in the insurance sector to 49% from 26%, given the sector's huge capital requirements, and also approved the pension Bill which says the FDI threshold in the sector would move in line with that in the insurance Bill. A parliamentary standing committee headed by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had earlier opposed hiking the insurance FDI cap, although there were reports that the BJP is favourably inclined to support pension reforms.
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