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Finance Bills to miss Winter session
November, 14th 2009

Govt to discuss six others Bills in the session, starting Nov 19.

The long-pending Banking Regulation (Amendment) and Micro Financial Sector (Development and Regulation) Bills will not be tabled in the Winter session of Parliament, even as the government plans to discuss six of the eight Bills from the Department of Financial Services in the month-long session, which begins November 19.

While the Life Insurance Corporation (Amendment) Bill and the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill are already pending in Parliament, the other four are the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, the State Bank of India (Amendment) Bill, the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Bank Laws) Amendment Bill and the State Bank of Saurashtra (Repeal) Bill.

We have a total eight Bills, of which only two will not be presented in the Winter session. The Micro Financial Sector Bill is with the law ministry.

The ministry is examining it and it might take some more time. The Banking Regulation Bill is being discussed with the corporate affairs ministry, an official in the finance ministry told Business Standard.

The finance ministry is discussing some provisions of the Banking Bill and the Companies Bill with the corporate affairs ministry, so that conflicting areas pertaining to banks in the two Bills can be resolved.

It has also asked the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to exempt banks from its merger and acquisition guidelines. Both the sides are keeping their mind open on the issue, the official said.

He added pension and insurance Bills are the top priority of the government at the moment. The PFRDA Bill, which lapsed with the dissolution of the 13th Lok Sabha, seeks to give statutory powers to the interim pension regulator to develop and regulate the new pension system for providing old-age security to the government, as well as the unorganised sector.

It will bring in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the pension sector. The Insurance Bill will allow hiking the FDI cap in insurance firms to 49 per cent from the current 26 per cent.

Most of these financial sector Bills had lapsed and will be reintroduced as the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government could not succeed in getting them cleared due to strong opposition from its Left allies. As the Left parties are not part of the present government, it will be easier for the government to push for financial sector reforms.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, however, has said that a broad consensus is needed within as well as outside the ruling coalition because the government does not have the required majority in the two Houses of Parliament.

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