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Where is the support in parliament to push the FDI related bills?


Where is the support in parliament to push the FDI bills?
Unlike foreign direct investment (FDI) approval in multi-brand retail which just needed nod from the union government, without a ratification from parliament, the recent approval of FDI in the pension sector and increase in FDI cap for the insurance sector needs parliamentary approval.

Even with the support of the Mamata Banerjee, the UPA was a minority in the Rajya Sabha, leading to a big question mark over the parliament ratification for increasing FDI in the insurance sector and allowing 26% FDI in the pension sector.


The left parties have been vociferous in opposing FDI in the pension and insurance sector and so is the SP, JD (U), BJD and the AIADMK. The DMK has made its dissent clear by staying away from the cabinet meeting, which approved these bills late Thursday evening.

The BJP has not categorically said "no", but it is clearly opposed to increasing the cap on FDI in the insurance sector.

This leaves the government only with the support of the NCP and RJD, which do not have any significant presence in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

Soon after the government hiked FDI in the insurance sector and allowed PDI in the pension sector, Mamata Banerjee tweeted: "Is it the intention of the UPA government to sell out the country?" she asked, referring to the decision to allow up to 49% foreign ownership in insurance companies, which according to her will make "lifelong savings of individuals totally insecure".

Clearly, TMC members of parliament are likely to create a cacophony when any of the FDI bills are introduced.

In the past there have been several bills that have been held up for years including the "Jan Lokpal" bill, "SC/ST" quota bill and the "Women's Reservation" bill. It will certainly not surprise if the recent FDI related bills go the same way. Stock markets can certainly call every bit of decision as "reforms" since they have witnessed policy paralysis for the last few years and any decision from the centre is welcome for them.

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