Debate on opening up insurance sector may end soon: Jaitley

New Delhi: Hinting that the chances of the Insurance Bill getting approved during parliament's ongoing winter session are high, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday the debate on opening up the sector will end
debate on opening up insurance sector may end...
IANS December 07, 2014 9:16 IST

New Delhi: Hinting that the chances of the Insurance Bill getting approved during parliament's ongoing winter session are high, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday the debate on opening up the sector will end soon.

"The debate with regard to insurance is almost now coming to an end. Hopefully within a few weeks, it should produce some results," Jaitley said while addressing the India Economic Conclave 2014 here.

Insurance sector employees in Chennai recently threatened a strike in case the government passed the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill 2008 in the winter session.

The Bill seeks to raise the foreign direct investment limit in the sector to 49 percent.

"We (Bharatiya Janata Party-led government) started off by opening out the sectors, which needed to be opened out. The response as far as the defence opening up is concerned has been extremely positive.

"There is a flurry of activity going on in that session. Important decisions like inviting private sector and foreign investment into the railways, which can be an effective instrument of change in India has by and large received large support," Jaitley added.

He also said the government's decision with regard to liberalising norms in real estate would help benefit tier II and tier III cities.

"It's easing the process of environmental clearances, which is holding up a large number of projects. One of the areas we need to work more effectively on is monitoring not merely the approvals, but actually on the ground the projects moving forward," Jaitley said.

About the government's approach to taxation, the minister said "Our approach to taxation is extremely critical. If I have to simplify the decisions of the earlier government, these were the most expensive taxes which won't yield us any revenues."

"So the government paid a big price and the investment environment paid a big price. Each of those areas we are very closely monitoring the situation and therefore, moving very carefully," Jaitley added.

Jaitley said that the government will come out with more steps to rationalise subsidies. He recalled the decision to link diesel prices with the market and said the government has recently decided to give direct cash subsidy on pilot basis to LPG customers in select cities.

Jaitley informed the gathering that the centre had set up a commission under former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan to suggest ways to rationalise subsidies.

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