Lok Sabha passes bill to amend general insurance law without debate

Amid continuing protests by opposition parties on the Pegasus snooping and other issues, Lok Sabha has passed a bill to amend the general insurance law to allow the government to pare its stake in state-owned insurers without a debate. The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 is aimed at generating required resources from the Indian markets so that public sector general insurers can design innovative products.

Moving the Bill for consideration and passage, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that she wanted to respond to the concerns raised by the opposition members but could not do so as the House was not in order. Accusing the Opposition of disturbing the proceedings of the House and avoiding discussion on the Bill, she said if ‘they are serious, they should sit down, debate and ask questions. Since you are afraid that truth will come out, you don''t want discussion.’

Sitharaman sought to counter the criticism by stating that private sector companies were providing better insurance to people at a lesser premium. Some of the remarks made by Chowdhury and the minister were expunged from the records on the direction of the Chair. Amid continuing protests by the Opposition over issues like Pegasus snooping and farm laws, the minister moved that the amendment bill be passed. It was quickly approved by voice-vote.