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Govt determined to go ahead with passage of reform measures

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New Delhi: Unfazed by opposition’s hard positions on passage of reform legislations like insurance bill, the government on Saturday said it is determined to go ahead with the measures in the winter session of Parliament beginning Monday.

However, it parried questions on whether the government plans to convene a joint session for passage of some of these legislations if consensus with Congress and other opposition parties was not possible.

“We are determined to go ahead. Merely because someone has an agenda only to obstruct is not going to deter us,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in an interaction with PTI journalists at the PTI headquarters here.

He was asked as to what would be the government stand in regard to pushing the bills like the one to further open up insurance sector when Congress leaders like Anand Sharma say that they have reservations over it and that they are non-committal on changes to Land Act and Coal Regulatory Authority Bill.

“I am not saying it is a possibility. May be we have it cleared in the House itself. The more the state elections, the more the obstructionists will lose,” he said when asked about the possibility of holding a joint session.

Jaitley’s remarks were a veiled dig at Congress which has lost power in Maharashtra and Haryana and faces a tough electoral battle in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand.

Replying to another question as to why the government has problems with the land acquisition law when the BJP did not seek these changes when it was being passed during the UPA regime, the Finance Minister said it is the principal job of the government to lay down the agenda.

“When the government comes out with a highly-populist agenda, however misconceived it is, you don’t expect the opposition to say don’t do it. So when the Rajasthan state government (of the Congress) said I will distribute medicines free, why will the opposition oppose it and spoil chances for itself.”

He also claimed that even within UPA, barring a small section, most others who dealt with the subject were conscious that “what they have done has adverse consequences”.

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