New Delhi: The controversial Insurance bill has been deferred for consideration in the Rajya Sabha for the time being after a meeting of the government with opposition leaders failed to break the deadlock in the face of demand to send it to a Select Committee.
The meeting, convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venakaih Naidu, could not iron out differences with the Opposition despite Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s plea that the current bill has virtually the same language and content as the previous bill of the Congresss-led UPA.With the BJP and its allies not having a majority in the Upper House, the government sought to bring the Congress and other opposition parties on board expressing its readiness to incorporate their suggestions to ensure early passage of the first major economic reform initiative of the Narendra Modi government.
With the possibility of convening a joint session not ruled out, Jaitley told the Congress and other parties that they should either cooperate in getting the Bill passed or reject it outright and not play politics on the issue of economic reforms.
While the Congress has 69 members, other parties demanding that the bill be referred to Select Committee have sizeable numbers in the 245-member Upper House. Those opposing the bill total up to 133 members, while those in support of the bill are only 68.
The strength of parties is TMC 12, JD-U 12, SP 10, BSP 14, CPI-M 9 and CPI 2, RJD 1 and DMK 4.
BJD and NCP, which have come out in support of the government, have seven and six members respectively.
While BJP has only 42 members, its allies TDP has 6, Shiv Sena and SAD 3 each and RPI (Athawale) one member.
There are 11 AIADMK members, 10 nominated members, nine independents and other smaller parties together account for 12 members in the House.
After the meeting, Naidu said government told Opposition leaders that whatever meaningful suggestions come, it is willing to consider them and asked them to debate and decide the measure in this session itself.