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Updated: October 4, 2012 19:13 IST

Cabinet to take up another round of big ticket reforms

Sujay Mehdudia
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The Union Cabinet headed by Manmohan Singh is likely to discuss further opening up of the pension and insurance sectors for FDI on Thursday. File photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu The Union Cabinet headed by Manmohan Singh is likely to discuss further opening up of the pension and insurance sectors for FDI on Thursday. File photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Undeterred by the opposition to the 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi brand retail, the UPA II government is likely to kick off the second round of big ticket reforms by taking up further opening up of the pension and insurance sectors for FDI, giving approval to the Companies Bill 2011, approving the 12 Five Year Plan and granting international airport status to airports in the Tier II cities.

The Finance Ministry is already understood to have given a green signal to the issue of hike in FDI for the pension and insurance sectors from the present 26 per cent to 49 pr cent. The Union Cabinet, which is scheduled to meet on Thursday, will take up the FDI hike issue which the Government feels is important for growth and development in these sectors. The Cabinet is also likely to discuss the formation of the National Investment Board (NIB) for single window clearance of all infrastructure projects.

Similarly, airports that have been listed in the Cabinet for recognition as international airports include Lucknow, Varanasi, Tiruchirapalli, Mangalore and Coimbatore, government sources said here. Conversion of a domestic airport into an international one primarily entails creation of immigration facilities and deploying manpower to carry out these tasks.

Similarly, the Cabinet is also likely to discuss the revised draft of the Companies Bill. The new Bill, that proposes many new norms including companies' spending on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, has been in the making for quite some time now. If cleared by the Cabinet, the Companies Bill 2011 will be tabled in Parliament during the winter session. The final draft of the Companies Bill 2011 has been prepared after considering recommendations of the Standing Committee and comments from the Finance and Law Ministries as well as the Planning Commission.

The Cabinet is also likely to give its nod to the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) document that proposes to lower annual average economic growth rate target during the period to 8.2 per cent from 9 per cent envisaged earlier in view of fragile recovery. The Plan document has already been approved by the full Planning Commission chaired by Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh on September 15. Once the document is approved by the Union Cabinet, then it will be placed before the National Development Council (NDC), the apex decision making body, for final approval. The NDC headed by the Prime Minister with all Chief Ministers and Cabinet Ministers on board, is the final authority to approve the five-year long policy document.

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