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More marshals than MPs as key Bill cleared: Opposition

New Delhi, August 11

The monsoon session of Parliament came to a bitter end today with the Opposition and the government facing off over use of marshals in the Rajya Sabha during the passage of the insurance amendment Bill to privatise general insurance companies.

The Opposition walked out of the RS this evening alleging heavy deployment of security personnel by the government to push the Bill.

Congress chief whip Jairam Ramesh termed the day as “worse than atrocious” amid indications that Opposition leaders and MPs would assemble in Parliament tomorrow to protest “government’s high-handedness”. Trinamool Congress leader in RS Derek O’Brien alleged that there were more security guards than MPs. “RS TV will not show that. This is censorship, the Modi-Shah Gujarat model at work Parliament,” he said.

‘Marshals pushed’

The government rejected Opposition charges that marshals prevented their protests

It said security men were pushed during the passage of the insurance Bill

The TMC alleged that the government used “gender shields” to foil MPs’ protests inside RS today. “Male marshals were sent after women MPs and female marshals were deputed in front of male MPs,” Brien said as some women MPs, including TMC’s Dola Sen and Congress’ Ami Yagnik, alleged manhandling by marshals.

“The government refused to send it to a select committee as demanded by all Opposition parties, including those close to the BJP. What happened this evening was worse than atrocious,” Jairam said.

The Bill will allow the government to privatise state-owned general insurance companies by amending the parent law of 1972. It follows the FM’s budget speech where she had said that the government proposes to privatise two public sector banks and one general insurance company in 2021-22 and will bring legislative amendments to this end.

One of the amendments in the new Bill drops a provision which mandates the government to keep 51 per cent stake in state-owned insurance firms. The four general insurance firms in the public sector are Oriental Insurance Company, National Insurance Company, United India Insurance and New India Assurance. — TNS

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