ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Insurance Nightmares

SIGNALLING its resolve to introduce it in parliament in the next few days, the government has this week circulated among MPs copies of the red-hot Insurance Regulatory Authority Bill aimed at putting an end to the monopoly of the government-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and General Insurance Corporation (GIC) in life and general insurance, respectively. After its approval by the cabinet towards the end of last month, the simmering opposition to the measure had come into the open. While their representatives did not evidently oppose it within the cabinet, at least five parties forming part of the ruling BJP-led coalition (Shiv Sena, Trinamul Congress, Akai Dal, Samata Party and AIADMK) later came out in public against the proposed bill But what caused the government the greatest discomfiture was the aggressive defiance, within the so-called Sangh parivar, by the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the RSS and even 50 BJP MPs who are known to have signed a memorandum opposing the bill. In a sense none of this should have surprised the BJP leadership, for till coming to power less than a year back it was the declared policy of the party to oppose any opening up of the insurance sector This is also the explicit position the party had taken in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha election and, before that, it had in parliament opposed the bill on the subject brought forward by the then Deve Gowda government, The whole episode has thrown into bold relief once again the pervasive confusion that prevails in the BJP and the larger Sangh parivar on matters of economic policy.

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