New Delhi: The long delayed pension reforms bill could not see the light of the day as the government on Thursday deferred a decision on the changes in the crucial Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011 in the cabinet meeting.

It is to be noted, the notification for presidential election is due next week due to which the government was not willing to upset the key coalition partner Trinamool Congress.

The Pension Bill was listed as Item no. 3 on the agenda list in the union cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which lasted only for 20 minutes.

Among the UPA allies, Trinamool Congress has been quite vociferous in opposing the pension and insurance reforms. Railway Minister Mukul Roy, who represents TMC in the UPA government, did not speak on the issue during the Cabinet meeting, sources said.

The Cabinet, as per the agenda, was scheduled to approve changes in the PFRDA Bill in light of the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance, to pave way for passage of the bill in Monsoon session of Parliament next month.    

The Cabinet, sources said, was required to take a view on the proposal of ensuring assured returns to pension fund subscribers, as suggested by the Committee, headed by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.
The PFRDA Bill, which has been pending for several years, seeks to open the pension sector to private sector and foreign investment. The proposed legislation was introduced in the Lok Sabha on March 24, 2011.
The PFRDA Bill provides for establishment of a statutory authority to undertake promotional, developmental and regulatory functions in respect to pension funds. Interim PFRDA is functioning since 2003 through an executive order.
PFRDA, set up as a regulatory body for pension sector, is yet to get statutory powers as the Bill pertaining to that effect lapsed in Parliament with the expiry of last Lok Sabha in 2009.


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