News / Asia

India Announces More Economic Reforms

Deputy Chairman of India's Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, July 30, 2012.
Deputy Chairman of India's Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, July 30, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
India has unveiled new measures to attract foreign investment in the insurance and pension sectors. The move appears to signal the government’s determination to press ahead with economic reforms despite threats by the political opposition to bring down the ruling coalition. 

The contentious bills approved by the Cabinet would open the doors to foreign companies in the pension sector, from which they are now barred. They also raise the limit for ownership by foreign companies in the insurance sector to 49 percent.

Opening the financial sector

The proposals have been pending for nearly a decade due to a lack of political consensus. If passed by parliament, these measures would be a major milestone in opening up India’s tightly controlled financial sector - a long standing demand of foreign investors.
 
The deputy chairman of India’s Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, denied criticism that the measures will put pensioners' funds at risk.
   
"It is completely false to say that by raising the foreign investment limit, you are giving away the insurance fund to foreigners," he said. "What you are doing is you are allowing foreigners to build up the capital of the Indian controlled company, which is attracting people to invest."

Parliamentary opposition

However, it will not be easy for the government to get parliament’s approval for the landmark bills. The ruling coalition is already under fire for allowing foreign supermarkets to enter India. A crucial political ally has walked out of the coalition, reducing the government to a minority.
  
Opposition to the latest measures is fierce across the political spectrum.

Prakash Javedkar, a senior leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, says they do not want anything that will risk the assured returns given to pensioners.

However the BJP has left some room for negotiation, saying the insurance and pensions sectors need to be rejuvenated.

Leftist parties have also slammed the proposals.

"These positions are retrograde, reactionary, they are not in the interest of the nation, they are against people, and all political parties must oppose," said D. Raja, a senior leader of the Communist Party of India.
    
The government says “hard decisions” are needed to attract foreign investment and restore confidence in India’s economy. Growth has slipped to its slowest pace in three years and investors have been wary of entering India, following complaints of widespread corruption and a paralysis in policy-making.

The wave of economic reforms began last month as the government vowed to rescue the faltering economy.

You May Like

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurd President Urges World Community to Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid