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Govt defers tabling of Insurance Bill

An indication to this came when amidst levelling of allegations and counter allegations, the treasury benches moved to get an extension for the Select Committee on Insurance Bill till 12 December. This decision came in despite Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday last having said that the Insurance Bill was in an ‘advance stage of finalisation’ by the Select Committee.

The select committee headed by BJP’s Chandan Mitra was to submit the report by 28 November.

When he moved a resolution in Rajya Sabha seeking extension of deadline to 12 December, CPM’s P Rajeev said the committee members were not aware of the move and the chairman can seek more time for submission of the report only after the issue is discussed in the committee and he is authorised to do so by the committee. ‘I am a member of the committee and I am not aware of this,’ Rajeev said as other members of the panel including TMC’s Derek O’Brien and Congress’ JD Seelam joined in to say they too were unaware of this.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also leader of the house, said since two members of the select committee - J P Nadda and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi - were inducted in the council of ministers, their replacement V P Singh Badnore and Rangasayee Ramakrishna could be nominated only on Tuesday.

‘Obviously, it will need more time. They have to decide if they want the committee or want to dissolve it,’ said Jaitley. ‘If the House desires that the panel should not be given extension, the government was willing to bring the insurance bill tomorrow,’ he added.

Opposition members, however, continued to insist that the resolution be withdrawn and Mitra immediately convene a meeting of the panel to discuss the extension of tenure before coming to the House. But Mitra was unwilling to heed to the advice. Jaitley quoted rules to say the House could decide on the extension of a panel. Thereafter, the resolution was put to vote and passed by voice vote amidst a verbal melee.

As expected Tuesday - the first working day of Parliament - saw both houses witnessing uproar over the black money issue. Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 12 noon after the opposition-led by TMC staged protests with open umbrella and disrupted the House. ‘100 days are over, where is the black money?’ chanted in unison members of TMC, Congress, RJD, Samajwadi Party and AAP, who stormed the Well of the Lok Sabha soon after it assembled for the day.

O’Brien raised the issue in Rajya Sabha after lunch saying, ‘The Government has made some assurances outside the House on bringing back black money. But no black money has come. There was a lot of hope on this issue, but the government is not delivering. There has to be some structured discussion on this issue. This is not about one or two political parties but all the parties.’ Responding to this, Jaitley said the member raised an important issue and the government is ‘too willing to discuss the issue’ whenever the parties want in consultation with the chairman.

In the Lok Sabha, TMC’s Kalyan Banerjee who led the protest shouted, ‘We want black money back and not just discussion.’ He made the remark when the Speaker observed that they were not interested in a discussion. Leader of the Congress in the House Mallikarjun Kharge demanded an apology from the government, saying the BJP leaders, including Narendra Modi, ‘defamed’ the UPA government over the black money issue in the Lok Sabha poll campaign and had promised to bring it back in 100 days. Naidu hit back alleging that most of the black money went abroad during Congress rule in the last 50 years. ‘No black money has gone out during our time,’ he said.

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