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Cabinet to consider pension, insurance reforms

The Cabinet on Thursday will take up bills that would raise the ceiling on foreign direct investment in insurance firms and open the pension sector to foreign investors.

twitter-logoPTI | October 4, 2012 | Updated 09:33 IST

Unfazed by the uproar over decision on FDI in retail, the Indian government is determined to give a push to reforms, with the Union Cabinet set to consider on Thursday big-ticket measures like opening pension sector to foreign investment and raising FDI cap in insurance sector to 49 per cent.

The Cabinet will also consider the Forward Contract Regulation Act (Amendment) Bill to empower commodity markets regulator FMC with greater financial autonomy, facilitate the entry of institutional investors and introduce new products for trading such as options and indices.

It will also take up the Companies Bill to bring all sectors under the Companies Act, amendment to the Competition Act and a proposal for operationalising the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF), sources said.

A proposal to set up a National Investment Board (NIB), to be headed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for according fast-track clearances to infrastructure projects will also be taken up at the meeting, they said.

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill, to be considered by the Cabinet, seeks to open up the pension sector to FDI of up to 26 per cent.

The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill seeks to raise the FDI cap insurance sector to 49 per cent from the 26 per cent at present.

This is the second wave of reforms decisions to be undertaken by the government within a month. On September 13, the government had approved the decision of allowing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, besides relaxing FDI norms for civil aviation and broadcasting sector.

The decision on FDI in retail triggered a major uproar, with some allies and opposition parties launching a massive attack on the government. Trinamool Congress even withdrew support to the government.

The Cabinet is also expected to approve 12th Plan and accord international status to five airports.

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