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Ahead of the last session of the current Parliament and planning to clear as many key reformbills as possible, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today sought cooperation from all political parties and urged them to adopta bi-partisan approach to resolve the challenges facing the economy.
The last session of the current Lok Sahba begins on February 5 and the Finance Minister will present a vote-on-account on the 17th of the month, ahead of the general elections.
Though no full session is being held, he is planning to introduce several reform bills like the SEBI Amendment Bill in the two-week session as the past two sessions were near washout.
"It is my sincere hope that as we enter a period of bitter political rivalry (ahead of the hustings), we will remember that there must be a bi-partisan approach to the challenges the economy faces and to the steps that are to be taken to stabilise the economy," P. Chidambaram said at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of UTI here this evening.
Citing the restructuring of UTI as one of the best examples of such a bipartisan approach, Chidambaram said, "While the first tentative steps (towards UTI recast) were taken by Yashwant Sinha, the then finance minister, the restructuring was midwifed by Jaswant Singh, the finance minister at that time. And when I took over as finance minister, I took it forward and completed the restructuring process."
"It is a good example of despite changes in the government, the main actors and political rivalry, there is a deeper bipartisan consensus when it comes to taking crucial decisions affecting the economy," he said.
About the implementation of FSLRC report, he said the non-legislative part of the recommendations should be implemented at the earliest.
"While it's not possible to initiate and complete the legislative action that is required within the term of this government, we will begin work and then we hope that the legislative actions will be completed in calendar 2014," Chidambaram said.
He, however, said that all the steps that have been recommended under the head of non-legislative actions, have been initiated by the finance ministry and will be rolled out in the weeks and months ahead.
"It is my sincere appeal to all political parties, to all members of Parliament now and those who will be elected to next Parliament that we must complete legislative actions based on FSLRC recommendations in calendar year 2014 and we must have the major part of the Indian Financial Code in place in 2014," he said.
He added that if the Congress retains power after the forthcoming polls, then the FSLRC suggestions will be implemented by the end of 2014.
"On behalf of my party I can assure the financial community that if we find the place in the government, we will complete major legislative actions to put in place an Indian Financial Code by the end of calendar 2014," he said.
To celebrate 50 years of UTI, the minister dedicated 101 new UTI financial centres to serve the investors, post which UTI will have 251 financial centres across the country.
UTI AMC managing director Leo Puri said, "On this golden jubilee year, the thrust of UTI will be to devise appropriate strategies that will improve all aspects of its functioning. UTI will work with a genuine concern to create a favourable environment that will benefit investors, intermediaries and the industry."
Addressing the session, Sebi chairman and the ex-UTI boss U K Sinha said, there is a need to revisit the ownership of UTI.