Thursday 22 December 2011


NEW DELHI: After being forced to keep on hold FDI in retail, Government faced fresh hurdles when two major legislations-- Pension Bill and the Companies Bill--had to be shelved in the face of dissent again from its ally Trinamool Congress(TMC) as well as from main opposition BJP.

TMC today made it clear that it was not in a position to support some of the provisions of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill just days after it forced Government to suspend the decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.

Sources said the government has decided to shelve the PFRDA and the Companies Bills in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament as it does not have the necessary numbers to get it passed in the Rajya Sabha with BJP and Left parties also opposing the legislations

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee is understood to have shot off a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today, stating her party's position on the important pension legislation.

As in the case of FDI in multi-brand retail, TMC's opposition to PFRDA is apparently due to political compulsions in West Bengal where her main political adversaries, the Left parties, have been campaigning for long opposing the measure.

One of the major issues on which TMC has voiced its opposition is the question of 'assured returns' on pension if a portion of it is invested in the stock market, sources said.

The sources said the Congress did not want to face the embarrasment of its ally TMC opposing this Bill in the House.

Mukherjee had earlier reached out to BJP to get its support for both the PFRDA and the Companies Bill. The government had agreed to the BJP demand to fix quantum of FDI for pension management in the PFRDA Bill itself and gave up its earlier proposal of bringing this through an executive decision.

Another demand of the BJP was on the issue of assured returns to retired employees.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, had also made this recommendation.

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