FM makes last-ditch effort to push direct taxes code, insurance Bills
December, 27th 2013
With growth at a decade's low and elections round the corner, the UPA will make a last-ditch effort to push key reform Bills in the winter session of Parliament, including that for raising FDI limit in insurance to 49% from 26% and Direct Taxes Code. It will also take up the anti-graft Lokpal and women reservation Bills.
Finance minister P Chidambaram is likely to meet Opposition leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley on Thursday to arrive at some consensus on the passage of the insurance and DTC Bills, sources told FE.
Also, the government wants to move a Bill to replace an ordinance that proposes to enable Sebi get a better regulatory grip over illegal ponzi schemes. Chidambaram is scheduled to reintroduce the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill on Thursday to replace the ordinance as it is crucial for Sebi to start action on schemes such as Saradha.
Finance ministry sources told FE that a "political solution will be found soon" to the DTC and insurance Bills. In the monsoon session, the government could pass 13 Bills, including the Food Security and PFRDA Bills only after it was able to take the BJP on board.
"The winter session is perhaps the last chance for passing some of the reform Bills as the next Budget session may not see much action because elections are nearing," an official said.
The DTC will replace the Income Tax Act 1961, which has gone through more than 100 amendments over the past few decades.
It would remove a number of profit-linked deductions, lower rates, simplify procedures and introduce concepts such as controlled foreign corporation rules and branch profit tax, among others.
Other Bills that could be taken up in the session include the Coal Mines Bill and the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill, both of which are key to take reforms forward in the energy sector.
Although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday appealed to all political parties for "best and optimal" use of the limited time (December 5-20) available for the winter session, chances are pretty high that UPA will again confront a stormy session with political