Indian Leftist Parties Oppose Raising Foreign Insurance Investment Cap to 49%

August 23, 2004

There’s still a lot of resistance to efforts to privatise India’s insurance industry. The latest proposal, to raise the amount of capital foreign insurers can own in Indian companies from the current 26 percent to 49 percent, has roused the ire of leftist politicians in parliament, who have vowed to oppose the plan.

There’s still a lot of resistance to efforts to privatise India’s insurance industry. The latest proposal, to raise the amount of capital foreign insurers can own in Indian companies from the current 26 percent to 49 percent, has roused the ire of leftist politicians in parliament, who have vowed to oppose the plan.

When India embarked on an ambitious scheme to de-nationalize the country’s insurance industry in 1999, it allowed foreign investors to take stakes in Indian insurance companies up to 26 percent. The provision was part of the Insurance and Regulatory Development Act (IRDA), which established a commission to regulate the privatised insurance industry. Changes in the Act require parliamentary approval.

Most of India’s leftist parties have been highly sceptical of the privatisation of the insurance industry since it was introduced. They see the new measure as further weakening the public sector for the benefit of private companies.

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