President Mukherjee signs insurance, coal ordinances
The two ordinances to pave the way for a fresh dose of foreign investment in the insurance sector and to move ahead with the allocation of cancelled coal mines received President Pranab Mukherjee’s approval on Friday. The government had decided to promulgate these ordinances to move ahead with reforms in the two sectors as the relevant bills could not be cleared during the just-concluded Parliament Session.
Mukherjee signed the two ordinances, Rashtrapati Bhavan Press Secretary Venu Rajamony said. The Cabinet had approved promulgation of the Ordinance on Insurance Bill and re-promulgation of the Coal Ordinance on Wednesday, a day after the conclusion of the Winter session of Parliament.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had expressed the hope that hiking of the foreign investment cap in the insurance sector to 49 per cent, which has been pending since 2008, will result in capital inflow of $6-8 billion. Earlier, this foreign investment limit was capped at 26 per cent.
"The Ordinance demonstrates the firm commitment and determination of this government to reforms. It also announces to the rest of the world including investors that this country can no longer wait even if one of the houses of Parliament waits indefinitely to take up its agenda," he had said.
The Insurance Laws Amendment Bill, 2008 could not be taken up for discussion in Parliament despite being approved by the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha because of the uproar over the conversion and other issues.
The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2014 was approved by the Lok Sabha but could make no progress in the upper House. The re-promulgation of ordinance on coal will facilitate e-auction of coal blocks for private companies for captive use and allot mines directly to state and central PSUs.