Bill Passed Amid Protest: Opposition Accuses Centre of "Bulldozing" Legislation

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The General Insurance Bill (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021, has been passed on Wednesday in the Rajya Sabha amid din and protests. This was passed by voice vote while the Opposition raised questions, and even tore papers in protest. The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, did not answer or respond to the points raised by the Ministers of the Parliament.

This Bill allows the privatisation of state-run general insurance companies and seeks to amend the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972, which was aimed at nationalizing all private companies undertaking general insurance business in India. This Bill essentially means that the Central Government has relinquished its control from the insurer, surrendering that to the private sector, and it seeks to remove the earlier requirement, that the Centre must hold at least a minimum of 51% of the equity capital in State-run insurers. This Bill has been previously passed in the Lok Sabha around early August.

The Opposition parties have accused the government of "bulldozing" the legislation, and not follow proper norms of the Parliament. The Bill triggered massive Opposition outrage, including the Left, the DMK, and others, who believes this Bill to be detrimental for the larger public, and wanted the Bill to be referred to a select committee. This motion was rejected by a voice vote, resulting in the Bill getting passed within a span of a few minutes, with unanswered questions.

This Bill is at par with the Centre's agenda of privatisation and corporatisation, which was announced by Nirmala Sitharaman in the Budget 2021, along with the announcement that "one general insurance company and two public sector banks" are going to be privatised.

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