Rajya Sabha passes Insurance Amendment Bill

Parliament of India. Image - YinYang, Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2021, even as the Congress members staged a walkout from the House.

The Bill seeks to amend the Insurance Act, 1938 to raise the limit of foreign investment allowed in Indian insurance companies. It proposes to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit from the existing 49 per cent to 74 per cent.

Replying to the debate over the Bill, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that it will promote competition in the market which will benefit the consumers.

“This enabling amendment is only to allow them to receive some money, but not exceed 74 per cent,” she said, adding that it is up to the companies to decide how much FDI they want.

“The FDI limit is not a compulsion, as the Bill only sets the upper limit. Increasing the limit doesn’t mean automatic foreign investment to that level to all the companies. Every company will decide for themselves, whether they want that money, to what extent and so on,” she said.

Sitharaman added that the policyholders’ money that will be collected will have to be invested within India only.

The opposition wanted the Bill to be sent to a standing committee, but the proposal was rejected by the government.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said that the government should answer the concerns of the people as insurance is related to the common man.

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