Cabinet to discuss insurance andother issues today

Undeterred by the opposition to the 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, the United Progressive Alliance government is likely to kick-start the second round of big ticket reforms, further opening up the pension and insurance sectors, clearing the Companies Bill, 2011 and the 12{+t}{+h}Five Year Plan and granting international airport status to airports in Tier II cities.

The Finance Ministry is understood to have given the green signal for increasing foreign direct investment in the pension and insurance sectors from the present 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

The Cabinet, at a meeting scheduled for Thursday, will discuss the issue, which the government feels is important for the development of these sectors.

The Cabinet is likely to discuss the formation of the National Investment Board for single-window clearance of all infrastructure projects.

Airports that have been listed for recognition as international airports include Lucknow, Varanasi, Tiruchi, Mangalore and Coimbatore, informed sources in the government said. Conversion of a domestic airport into an international one entails creation of immigration facilities and manpower deployment.

The Cabinet is likely to discuss the revised draft of the Companies Bill. The Bill, which 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, it will be tabled in in the winter session of Parliament.

The final draft is based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary 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 for the 12th Plan (2012-17) document that proposes to lower the annual average economic growth target to 8.2 per cent from the 9 per cent envisaged earlier in view of fragile recovery.

More In: Today's Paper