NEW DELHI: It is almost certain now that key economic bills relating to reforms in the insurance, banking and pension sectors will not come up in the current session of Parliament. While the insurance bill failed to get Cabinet approval last week, the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, though cleared by the Cabinet, does not figure in the list of business for the remaining part of the session.
As for the Pension Fund Regulatory Authority ofIndia(PFRDA) Bill, the government is unlikely to push the proposed legislation in the light of ally Trinamool’s continuing reservations over its provisions. “We cannot support financial sector reform Bills. We have conveyed this to the government leadership,” Trinamool leader in the Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandopadyay, told ET on Monday.
The government’s inability to bring the three important legislations before Parliament runs against the assurance given by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee ahead of post-recess segment of the budget session. Mukherjee had in an interview expressed confidence that the key economic bills would be transacted in the budget session itself.
“India’s reforms are a ‘continuing process’ which is following its natural path through different instances of government…It is not that there is any stoppage of reforms,” he told a foreign news agency in Washington in April, where he attended meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
“That process is going on and I am hoping that the three important legislations – the Pension Funds Regulatory Authority Bill, the Insurance Law (Amendment) Bill and the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill – will be passed either in the current session of Parliament or in the next session of Parliament.”
Concerns about political gridlock in the country increased in the past few days as chief economic adviser of the government told aUSthink-tank that no big reforms would be possible before the 2014 elections, citing coalition pressures.
With the government pre-occupied with passage of the Finance Bill until May 8, many of the “routine” bills had to be pushed to the last week of budget session. With members now demanding discussions on subjects like the Aircel-Maxis deal and official languages and around five to six legislations cleared by one House and waiting for passage by the other House, there is little scope for any major bills to be taken up during the course of this week.