Cabinet defers pension bill due to opposition from Trinamool
MDT/PTI 07 June 2012

The decision to defer the controversial bill assumes significance as the UPA government would not like to ruffle the feathers of Trinamool Congress ahead of the Presidential elections
 

New Delhi: With Trinamool Congress, the key alley in the united progressive alliance (UPA) coalition raising the banner of opposition to the pension reform bill, the government on Thursday played safe by deferring the legislation, apparently keeping in view the upcoming Presidential polls, reports PTI.

The Union Cabinet was to take up the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill, 2011, which provides for private sector and foreign investment in pension sector, but put it off without any consideration, sources said.

The decision comes in the wake of Trinamool Congress member and Railway Minister Mukul Roy writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee yesterday, saying that more discussions were needed on the bill, sources said.

Roy told Singh and Mukherjee that his party's view on the bill was not articulated as it has no member in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance which has considered the legislation. Subsequently, the decision to defer the bill was taken last night.

The decision to defer the controversial bill assumes significance as the government would not like to ruffle the feathers of Trinamool Congress ahead of the Presidential elections.

The Cabinet, as per the agenda, was scheduled to approve changes in the PFRDA Bill in light of the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance, to pave way for passage of the bill in Monsoon session of Parliament next month.

The Cabinet, sources said, was required to take a view on the proposal of ensuring assured returns to pension fund subscribers, as suggested by the Committee, headed by senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha.

The PFRDA Bill, which has been pending for several years, seeks to open the pension sector to private sector and foreign investment.

The proposed legislation was introduced in the Lok Sabha or the Lower House of Indian Parliament on 24 March 2011.

The PFRDA Bill provides for establishment of a statutory authority to undertake promotional, developmental and regulatory functions in respect to pension funds.

Interim PFRDA is functioning since 2003 through an executive order.

PFRDA, set up as a regulatory body for pension sector, is yet to get statutory powers as the Bill pertaining to that effect lapsed in Parliament with the expiry of last Lok Sabha in 2009.

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