FM expresses disappointment over non-passage of key eco bills

Expressing disappointment over the non-passage of key financial legislations like Insurance Bill, finance minister P Chidambaram today there was no merit in blocking their passage.

"I regret to record my disappointment that Insurance Laws Amendment Bill and Securities Laws Amendment Bill have not been passed by Parliament for reasons that have nothing to do with the merits of Bills," he said, while presenting Interim Budget for 2014-15.

The Insurance Bill that seeks to raise FDI in insurance sector to 49 per cent has been pending in Rajya Sabha since 2008. The Standing Committee, to which it was referred earlier, has already given its report to the Parliament.

With the amendments in Securities Laws Bill, market regulator Sebi would have more powers to crack down on ponzi schemes, seek phone call records to check insider trading and carry out search and seizure operations.

Last year, President Pranab Mukherjee had promulgated an ordinance amending the securities law that would provide more powers to the Sebi.

With regard to legislations in direct and indirect taxation, he said revenues are of paramount importance and he is disappointed over the Goods and Service Tax (GST) not being introduced.

"I am disappointed that we have not yet been able to introduce GST. I leave it to you to answer the question, who blocked the GST when an agreement on the game changing tax reform was around the corner?," he said.

GST, which seeks to subsume various indirect taxes like excise, sales and service tax, was proposed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government and subsequently supported by Congress-led UPA government.

"We have also got ready a Direct Taxes Code that will serve as for at least the next 20 years. I intend to place it on the website for a public discussion without partisanship or acrimony," he said.

"I appeal to all political parties to resolve to pass the GST laws and DTC in 2014-15," he said.

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