Ruckus in Rajya Sabha over bill raising FDI in insurance; Opposition demands review by standing committee

BJP leader Bhupender Yadav, however, said that the bill has already been examined by a standing committee, the Law Commission and the Narasimhan Commission

Press Trust of India March 18, 2021 19:08:44 IST
Ruckus in Rajya Sabha over bill raising FDI in insurance; Opposition demands review by standing committee

New Delhi: The Congress and other Opposition parties Thursday forced adjournments of Rajya Sabha proceedings 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.

After Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2021 for passing in the Upper House, Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said it will put the people of the 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 percent FDI was allowed in the insurance sector, he said, adding later in 2015, the law was amended further to allow 49 percent FDI and now the amendment is for allowing 74 percent 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 that 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 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.

DMK leader Tiruchi Siva said, "Had the bill been passed in the Lok Sabha, we could have given an amendment to refer it to a select committee. The bill has been introduced in our House, so it could be referred to a standing committee. The bill needs to be scrutinised."

As the uproar continued, the Deputy Chair first adjourned the House for 10 minutes. When it reassembled, the House was again adjourned for 17 minutes and later for 15 minutes before the discussion began at 3.15 pm amid the commotion.

As the discussion started, the House was adjourned again for the fourth time till 3.39 pm amid the uproar.

Just before the bill was moved for passage in the Upper House, the Deputy Chairman said Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil's letter raising a point of order opposing the introduction of insurance amendment bill 2021 was not admitted, saying the member quoted a wrong rule.

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