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One Percent versus Ninety Nine Percent: A Debate

INDIA DOESN’T NEED FDI IN RETAIL TO GROW — Joseph Stiglitz

Nobel Laureate of 2001 in Economic Joseph Stiglitz (who shared it with two more), presently Professor at University of Columbia, is  credited with starting the “1% versus 99%” debate. The Columbia University professor talks about his latest book, “The Price of Inequality”, in which he argues that economic inequality leads to instability

• The title of the book reflects a view that counters the right-wing argument that inequality may be a bad thing but to do anything about inequality is to kill the goose that lays golden eggs. Inequality is bad for economy, democracy and society. Much of the inequality in the US arises out of rent-seeking —monopoly, exploitive practices by banks and corporate exploitation of public resources. In the Indian context, you will call it corruption but we call it corruption American style, where you give away natural resources below market prices. India is doing it now but America has a long history of doing this.

There is a clear association between inequality and instability. People at the top don’t spend too much, they save a lot but people at the bottom spend everything. So you redistribute income from the bottom to the top and demand goes down. That makes an economy weak. That is what happened in the US. We would have had a weaker economy, but the Feds stepped in by creating a bubble that created more demand to offset the demand that was going down. Of course, creating a bubble was creating instability.

• Stiglitz confessed that both the IMF and the UN commission that I chaired came to the conclusion that inequality was one of the major causes for the crisis. It is not the direct, precipitating cause that bad lending was, but bad lending was a result of deregulation and the interest rates that were itself a result of inequality. If we don’t improve inequality and don’t do something else, it is going to be hard to get back to robust growth and prosperity. We are likely to have another housing bubble.

• He further opines, that in the presidential debates none of the candidates have mentioned the word ‘inequality’ as American politics is money-intensive and money-driven. Each of the candidates is expected to spend a billion dollars. When you spend so much, you have to go where the money is, and money in America is at the top. Therefore it is not a surprise that in the campaign you don’t hear a lot of discussion about inequality and the 1%. You don’t bite the hand that is feeding you in the middle of an election.

• He say that this debate may last or  may remain a phrase, he is not sure of, but it will be a part of America unless the problem of inequality gets addressed. It is just not that the top 1% get three to four times more that what they got in the 1980s, but the middle class today is worse off. When you have this degree of stagnation in the middle, there will be an expression through the political process.

• Stiglitz feels that GDP is not a real measure (or say per capita income) of development. he says that, I haven’t looked at India exactly, but it has strong implication for every country. In the case of China, if you take into account the environmental degradation and resource depletion, growth is much less than what it seems. You need that debate in India. Your GDP is going up, you have per capita highest number of billionaires but at the same time you have many people in poverty. So the GDP per capita doesn’t capture what is happening. In India, the progress in the middle and at the bottom has been less than what GDP in itself would like you to believe.

• When asked about the current issue in Indian Economy, that is FDI in retail, he puts it this way.  The advocates of FDI have probably put too much emphasis on it. India is in a different position than a small, developing country. You have a large pool of entrepreneurs. They are globally savvy, have access to global technology and they have a lot of wealth. So, if there were large returns to large-scale supermarkets, the domestic industry would have supplied it. Not having access to FDI is not an impediment in India. Wal-Mart is able to procure many goods at lower prices than others because of the huge buying power they have and will use that power to bring Chinese goods to India to displace Indian production. So the worry is not so much about the displacement of the small retail store but displacement further down the supply chain.

When an argument that ‘But big chains may create more jobs’; he told that  some of the profits of companies like Wal-Mart come from free riding on our society. They don’t provide healthcare benefits and assume that the spouses of the workers get healthcare benefits from their other employees or through some other mechanism. They might not be a good employer.

Always Yours — As Usual —- Saurabh Singh

Source: TOI

WILL The Buck Stop — May be This One Works

Olympic Gold Medalist of Corruption in recent olympics Mr. Suresh Kalmadi-led CWG fiasco became India’s shame; A Raja will have made the CWG affair look petty if it turns out that he has indeed caused national loss and brought global shame for India in the 2G scam as charged. Now B S Yeddyurappa and Janardhan Reddy are BJP’s A Raja, standing accused of being the shameful faces of mafia-like corruption. Now is the time to ensure that buck must stop.

The good news is that citizens are finally refusing to accept corruption as routine anymore and are demanding immediate accountability from those who they elect. Today, for the first time in independent India’s history five corporate CEOs, one IAS officer and several senior politicians find their new address as Tihar Jail No. 1. This could well be dubbed as India’s second  independence struggle, but this time it’s not against foreign rule, but for for freedom from corruption by our own rulers, and has begun in right earnest in 2010.

There are four immediate steps, which can be taken to control corruption.

First, the government must notify the rules for the confiscation of assets of corrupt officers in the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988. This will allow the state to confiscate properties into an escrowed account where no claimant shows up, and if he does, then the tax laws can be invoked to inquire into the source of income for purchase of the property.

 Second, India must enact strong anti-perjury laws to stop frivolous, false complaints under oath; this would be a necessary step to prevent witnesses and complainants from frequent retractions which one currently observes in court.

Third, reversing the onus of proof. The accused must demonstrate why illegal cash
or real estate suspected to belong to them is not theirs or face confiscation. Today, the standard of evidence followed is cumbersome. Taking cues from the US system, one must trace the money trail rather than paper trails of files of decision-making.

Lastly, posting the right man for the right job. When one outstanding officer, Bishwajit Mishra, was posted in Bellary, he disciplined Reddy’s minions and recovered dues of Rs 20 crore in 10 days flat before he was transferred out.

Justice Santosh Hegde, U V Singh, Vipin Singh and their team have done yeoman service. They have painstakingly sifted through voluminous bank records of over 40 lakh entries, reconciling millions of transactions from one benami account to the other, one benami company to the other, till it reached the eventual beneficiary, as is shown in the report.

It recounts how Reddy started the ‘zero-risk system’ whereby he would use government officers to procure permits for other mining companies, ensuring safe transport of illegally mined ore to a destination of their choice. For a payment of 40% of the prevailing global market price of iron ore or sharing an equal amount in volume, he had created a different kind of single-window system – for bribes!

Companies that initially refused were later forced to sign zero-risk contracts with Reddy. Rs 40,92,88,860 was the amount paid as ‘risk amount’, Rs 62,92,36,810 was paid for illegal iron ore trading and about Rs 2,46,62,377 was paid to 617 officials in just five years.

This apart, the report says Rs 4,79,03,917 was paid to “G J Reddy Sir” by cheque (and many times more by cash). Now, the time has come to use the fullest extent of various penal provisions of the law to recover the money. Thus, perhaps for the first time, actual value has been imputed to the extent of bribery in just one sector of the economy, that too in one state.

It also appears from the report that Yeddyurappa brought enormous transparency into bribe-taking by having his sons take the bribe by cheque into a family trust, turning a blind eye to the rape of the treasury by his colleague and his own family.

He was clearly told in writing on file by his outstanding team of officers including the chief secretary and others that denotifying land after a Section 16(2) stage of Land Acquisition Act is violative of Supreme Court judgments. Yet, he brazenly went ahead, denotified it, sold it back to the same mining company and received a ‘donation’ by cheque! Despite L K Advani’s repeated sane counsel and warnings, the misdemeanour continued for he thought the buck would never stop. But it did.

 It remains to be seen that India’s second war for independence would spread further or soon the principal culprits will be forgotten, witnesses will be purchased or will ‘voluntarily’ withdraw their statements, bail would be granted by friendly judges, back-door deals for mutual protection will be struck across party lines, some elections will be won, and the same people will be back in power. And show  must keep going on and on.

These view reflect the agreement with views presented are vies of the author.

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh

 

THE JASMINE REVOLUTION — Part – I

At times, few events, though not very often noticed, normally not even thought worth being covered by national media, but when the acts happen to be of SUPREME SACRIFICE or same order, change course of not alone history but geography too. The attempt is not to dub an act of self immolation as an act of bravery, and normally hundreds of cases of self immolation and attempts of self immolation get reported in media every year, besides lot many which even fail to find space in news media in nearly all the corners of the world which without fuelling in a minor change in governance.

The name “Mohamed Bouazizi” is not a famous or well known name even today, and thus indirectly gives an impression that history in due course of time may even forget to contain any record of this name for reference of future generations. The act of self immolation by this Tunisian Street Vendor to protest against the corruption is an apt example of helplessness being faced by common men, irrespective of him being a citizen, subject, at mercy of any dictator, fascist or Junta or probably any other form of Structure of Governance.

Strange are ways things are destined, much beyond human vision and imagination, it seems if  21st Century were a Century of Convergence of Scale for nearly every sphere of human related activities. A Century standing witness to Convergence of Communication Technology and Tools, Convergence of Economies of Nations, Convergence of Trade, Convergence of Financial Governance, and perhaps even Convergence of Revolutions against Governance Structures across various nations and probably the list continue…s, neither can it be covered in this deliberation nor will it be attempted.

Till a couple of months back, the individual of the day was busy in himself thinking that all the problems could happen and will happen with others only, aptly defined selfish by Adam Smith and the league, was thinking of governance all around the globe being cool, calm and pleasant except the places messed up by United States of America. Perhaps still the individuals will remain individuals and will rarely form a society or nation; as people aware of history know very well that even the phenomenon or concept of nation is a gift of as recent as nineteenth century.

Connecting back, it was morning of December 17, 2010 when Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26 years old street vendor of Tunisia immolated himself protesting against corruption, an event of the magnitude often not even noticed by world media, the Arab World has not remained the same as it was till hours before of this act on the same day. It has left whole geo-political area simmering and inhabitants rumbling.  It has initiated a chain reaction.

The chain reaction, that has already made twenty three years old rule of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, (in power since 1987) now a chapter in history of Tunisia. It did not stop here itself. It perhaps turned a torchbearer for other nations of geopolitical area often called as Gulf (British call it as Middle East), or as the author calls it, the Middle West. It did not stop at Tunisia. The next link in chain turned out to be Egypt. In Egypt, the war hero of Egypt Israel War of 1973 that made Egypt a power centre in Middle West and one time air force officer Hosni Mubarak was shown door after his thirty year rule. To world it may look a silent transition made success by people of Egypt but sources say that at least 300 people lost their life and another 3000 suffered injuries. Reality about real causalities is not known due to initial crack down on media and still no real transition to any new form of governance taking place. It is probably still another Hosni Mubarak just individual may differ, as no real transition to any form of governance has taken place, but junta in control.

“The phenomenon being deliberated, as on date, has come to be known as SIDI BOUZID REVOLT in Arab World and as JASMINE REVOLUTION elsewhere.”

Similar turmoil, protests against governments in place, in numerous other nations of gulf is being seen and also the ruthlessness and lack of human emotions with which they are being suppressed and retaliated by various governments in place. It is the same story today in Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya and Yemen.

Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh

New World Order Imminent!- Anyone For A Game Of Ping Pong?

This vedio has been uploaded for my learned audiences, fans, students and scholars and rest others, who wish to understand issue of New World Order. I would top up the same by a commentry on Asian Environment Soon. Hope you find some value in it.Always Your—– As Usual — Saurabh Singh

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Relationship Marketing in Retailing

Only Business and No Administration

Only Business and No Administration will never create a Synergy Termed Business Administration. Business Administration is not alone Commerce; rather to be exact, it is art and science of governance applied to Business Entity.Illustration could be given as in Case of Nations, they do transact a number of Business and Commerce Related Activities, but what is being done is act called Governance and Administration. Popularly Termed as Public Administration.

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Barak Obama and Economic Crisis

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

ACADEMICS IS LONG DEAD!———————– LONG LIVE ACADEMICS !!!

I am not aware as to why and how, the team of A “Journal published by Research Directorate of a University well known”, had thought and ultimately sent a research paper submitted to it for consideration of publication, for the purpose of getting referees comments on the same.

This happened to be the first time; I got any assignment of this nature from Journal Publishing Division of the particular university.

Initially, I was surprised by this gesture, due to the traditions that prevail in the nation happens to be selection of reviewers based on designation and is not based on knowledge of domain and expertise of Individual in it. As I happen to be reviewer of many International Journals, being at my designation itself, that Assistant Professor [for people not related to the institution I work with, or those who retired prior to Sixth Pay Commission Recommendations; it is being mentioned that this designation is same, which in their time was known as Lecturer] not being named here for reasons of confidentiality; but never expected it from the published by Research Directorate of a University known well to all. University is not being named for Reasons of Confidentiality.

The manner, in which the role of referee is supposed to be performed, was followed and performed with to the level of and with all possible integrity and devotion to the extent possible and expected within my limitations. The comments that were as final recommendation put by me on the space meant for Comment on the Evaluators’ Sheet were as detailed in double quotes:

“The work completed and outcome of the same happen to be very relevant and pertinent for concerned domain of knowledge. The paper too has been drafted, following most of the conventions in vogue, in research. Evaluator feels that, if some extra efforts can be put and same is fine tuned further, the contribution, by this paper, may achieve a distinction of being seminal in Nature. Therefore, recommends that, the scholar may be provided with a chance of value addition.”

Since, due to the limitations of space provided on Page, provided for comments; was forced to attach three additional A4 Sheets. The same got details explaining the comments given as mentioned paragraph just preceding this one.

Perhaps due to paucity of money in the Organizational Funds, it has turned impossible for the organization to provide me a couple of cartridges, for performing few academic endeavors’. I thought better to buy the same from my pocket [Approx. Five plus Three Units, as only a petty sum of Rs. 32,000/- was required].

Any way then too, I preferred to write comments in ink by my own fountain pen. My purpose of joining academics is not alone to earn money, but certainly let me accept that its important but I have given it second priority. My primary objective is still, to learn as far as possible to turn capable of solving at least one unsolved miseries existing in this enigmatic and ever expanding universe, which can turn helpful in overcoming at least one the suffering from total number of miseries being faced by humanity. Thus I take my salary as stipend received by name “Learn while you Earn”. The salary in material terms is also not more than that, which clear by my designation as mentioned above. The comments, thus, in additional sheets were scribbled in my own hand writing and attached along with evaluator’s report.

Now the logic as to why I am sharing this information with my audience:

“When Paper was returned back to Scholar who had authored the same, for the purpose of correction; it got revealed to me that the authors were none other than Learned Dean of one College of the same well known University co- authored by Learned Head Department of the same College, and a scholar who got admitted to the prestigious degree of Doctor of Philosophy the domain dealt by the college, bearing a seal of the prestigious university”.

Now I feel a bit happy for of my decision of not getting enrolled or registered for Ph. D., in the Particular College and the University.

This also clearly introduces me to the reasons, as to why the university despite of best of its efforts has not got the status of Central University. Probably as of now the University should vie to get recognized as National Institution, even which as per me, may not be awarded.

Finally I Hope that there is no need to Sign this Document….As the above content has not been created for legal purposes. It’s just meant to separate and create a visible difference between a Professor and a Tutor performing the role of Professor to earn his Livelihood. ALSO TO EXPLAIN WHAT IT MEANS AND SHOULD BE EXPECTED BY PRESENT GENERATION INDIVIDUALS DECORATED BY DEGREE TITLED DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY.

ACADEMICS IS LONG DEAD! ………………………………………………

……………………..…………………………………………………………….LONG LIVE ACADEMICS !!!

 

Always Yours ………………………………..As Usual…………………………Saurabh Singh

Get Introduced with Barak M Obama — before he Lands in Mumbai-INDIA

Obama at bottom of his popularity and further confidence broken by  Poll Results

India, stand by to welcome a wounded American President. A crushing defeat in the mid-term Congressional elections stares President Obama’s Democratic Party on the eve of his four-nation trip that begins with a three-day Mumbai-Delhi swing later this week. The expected rout is likely to impact his agenda for the visit, which has already been heavily weighted towards economic issues at the expense of a strategic outreach with an eye on Tuesday’s polls.

But it has not made much difference, and things don’t look good for Obama. A 12-foot-high stack of pumpkins on the White House lawns on Sunday generated jokes about why Democrats are running scared on Halloween, which Obama celebrated with his kids after taking a break from the pell-mell of last-minute campaigning.

Democrats are in danger of losing both the House of Representatives (where all 435 seats are at stake) and nearly a third of the 100-member Senate, besides a host of governorships and state legislatures in play.

Almost every opinion poll has projected a heavy defeat for the Democrats, with the certain loss of the House of Representatives and possibly even the Senate. Republicans are poised to erase the 39-seat difference in the 435-member House to take control of the chamber.

In the words of Harvard Historian Professor James T. Kloppenberg

Professor James T. Kloppenberg ‘s authored book has been published on just the past Sunday by Princeton University Press.

Professor chose to focus on the influences that shaped President Barack Obama’s view of the world, he interviewed the president’s former professors and classmates, combed through his books, essays and speeches, and even read every article published during the three years Obama was involved with the Harvard Law Review (“a superb cure for insomnia,” Kloppenberg said). What he did not do was speak to Obama. “He would have had to deny every word,” Kloppenberg said with a smile. The reason, he explained, is his conclusion that Obama is a true  intellectual — a word that is frequently considered an epithet among populists with a robust suspicion of Ivy League elites. In New York City last week to give a standing-room-only lecture about his forthcoming intellectual biography, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition, Kloppenberg explained that he sees Obama as a kind of philosopher president, a rare breed that can be found only a handful of times in US history.

“There’s John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Quincy Adams, then Abraham Lincoln and in the 20th century just Woodrow Wilson,” he said. To Kloppenberg the philosophy that has guided Obama most consistently is pragmatism, a uniquely American system of thought developed at the end of the 19th century by William James, John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce. It is a philosophy that grew up after Darwin published his theory of evolution and the Civil War reached its bloody end.

Pragmatism maintains that people are constantly devising and updating ideas to navigate the world in which they live; it embraces open-minded experimentation and continuing debate. “It is a philosophy for skeptics, not true believers,” Kloppenberg said. Those who heard Kloppenberg present his argument at a conference on intellectual history at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center responded with prolonged applause. “The way he traced Obama’s intellectual influences was fascinating for us, given that Obama’s academic background seems so similar to ours,” said Andrew Hartman, a historian at Illinois State University who helped organize the conference.

Kloppenberg  chose to focus on one slice of the president’s makeup: his ideas. In the professor’s analysis the president’s worldview is the product of the country’s long history of extending democracy to disenfranchised groups, as well as the specific ideological upheavals that struck campuses in the 1980s and 1990s. He mentions, for example, that Obama was at Harvard during “the greatest intellectual ferment in law schools in the 20th century,” when competing theories about race, feminism, realism and constitutional original intent were all battling for ground.

Obama was ultimately drawn to a cluster of ideas known as civic republicanism or deliberative democracy, Kloppenberg argues in the book . Taking his cue from Madison, Obama writes in his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope that the constitutional framework is “designed to force us into a conversation,” that it offers “a way by which we argue about our future.” This notion of a living document is directly at odds with the conception of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who has spoken of “the good, old dead Constitution.”

Kloppenberg compiled a long list of people who he said helped shape Obama’s thinking and writing, including Weber and Nietzsche, Thoreau and Emerson, Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. Contemporary scholars like historian Gordon Wood, philosophers John Rawls and Hilary Putnam, anthropologist Clifford Geertz and legal theorists Martha Minow and Cass Sunstein (who is now working at the White House) also have a place.

Despite the detailed examination, Kloppenberg concedes that Obama remains something of a mystery. “To critics on the left he seems a tragic failure, a man with so much potential who has not fulfilled the promise of change that partisans predicted for his presidency,” he said. “To the right he is a frightening success, a man who has transformed the federal government and ruined the economy.”He finds both assessments flawed. Conservatives who argue that Obama is a socialist or an anti-colonialist (as Dinesh D’Souza does in his book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage”) are far off the mark, he said.

“Adams and Jefferson were the only anti-colonialists whom Obama has been affected by,” he told the audience in New York. “He has a profound love of America.” And his opposition to inequality stems from Puritan preachers and the social gospel rather than socialism. As for liberal critics, Kloppenberg took pains to differentiate the president’s philosophical pragmatism, which assumes that change emerges over decades, from the kind of “vulgar pragmatism” practiced by politicians looking only for expedient compromise. (He gave former President Bill Clinton’s strategy of “triangulation” as an example.)

 

Always Yours——— As Usual——–  Saurabh Singh

War amongst two Organs of same Body: Did Somebody Say Cannibalization: Is it Suicidal?

Market regulator SEBI has barred 14 private life insurance companies from selling unit-linked insurance plans without its approval, giving a fresh twist to the turf war between SEBI and insurance watchdog IRDA.

“We expect some companies to move the court” said the CEO of a life company. “It is unfortunate that this dispute has been allowed to reach this stage. It is time for the finance ministry to intervene” he added.

In an order signed by Prashant Sharn, wholetime director, SEBI, said, “I hereby direct the entities mentioned in this order not to issue any offer document, advertisement, brochure soliciting money from investors or raise money from investors by way of new and/or additional subscription for any product (including ULIPSs) having an investment component in the nature of mutual funds, till they obtain the requisite certificate of registration from SEBI.”

The 14 companies mentioned in this order include Aegon Religare, Aviva, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, Bharti AXA, Birla Sun Life, HDFC Standard Life, ICICI Prudential, ING Vyasa Life, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life, Max New York Life, Metlife India, Reliance Life, SBI Life, TATA AIG Life.

A few months back, SEBI had questioned individual life companies why they were selling investment products without its approval. Companies had responded individually that insurance laws permit them to offer an investment component within a life insurance policy. They also said that they were regulated by SEBI who had cleared all these products. The life companies were supported by the market regulator, who reiterated the stand taken by life companies.

In its final order SEBI said, “I find that the entities by their own admission have stated that there are two components of ULIPSs – an insurance component where the risk on the life insurance portion vests with the insurer and the investment component where the risk lies with the investor. This establishes conclusively that ULIPSs are a combination product and the investment component need to be registered with and regulated by SEBI”

SEBI’s order has implications not only for the life insurance companies but also for their promoters who have sunk in over Rs 26,000 crore in the form paid up capital. According to analyst reports, a significant portion of the value of various companies including, ICICI Bank, Aditya Birla Nuvo, SBI Life and Bajaj Fin serve. Most of the business written by these companies is through ULIPSs. If these companies are barred from selling ULIPSs, their valuations are likely to be hit.

Atul Surana , Certified Financial Planner and MD of Catalyst Financial Planning, says, “Anybody will understand one clear partial stand of SEBI which has not included LIC’s name in the list of life insurance companies selling ULIPSs. Secondly, this sounds much like a war between IRDA and SEBI who are bent on proving their authorities. These two regulators could have sorted out the issue on regulatory process first and then issued the order!”

So far as the order’s negative implications are concerned, experts say that while they broadly agree with the concerns of the regulator, it is also important to look at some possible negative implications of this move.

For instance, this process of another regulatory approval might take away the sheen from these products. Insurance companies may not be inclined.  The Securities and Exchange Board of India’s latest order on ULIPSs is expected to have far-reaching implications for the concerned life insurance companies as well as investors. SEBI has issued a directive to all private life insurance companies not to issue any offer document or advertisement soliciting money from investors for a ULIPS or any product having an investment part in the nature of mutual funds, till they approve of the same.

This directive is the latest in a series of initiatives taken by the market regulator to put an end to all unfair market practices and make the process of investments simple, fair and cost efficient for an investor. While the immediate fallout will be negative for all the 14 private life insurance companies as ULIPSs form a major part of the new business written by these companies in the recent past, yet some financial experts feel that this is a welcome step as it puts an end to the unfair practice of pushing life insurance policies as investment products to gullible investors.

“In the current market practice investors end up paying very high charges for the investment part of these policies and are usually not aware of the expenses they are paying. This is because unlike a normal share or mutual fund investment there are usually a myriad of charges in a ULIPS product hidden behind numerous provisions and clauses which are sometimes not easy to comprehend even by insurance professionals,” says Ashish Kapur, CEO, Invest Shoppe India Ltd, adding, “hence common investors have very little chance of ever getting an accurate picture of the costs they are incurring on these insurance and investment combination products.”

Still all is not well with the SEBI order as it is believed to have some partiality besides having some negative implications to offer these products if the regulations are very tough and costly to comply with.

FRIENDLY FIRE: EXPECTED NUMBER OF CASUALTIES

SEBI’s order asking 14 insurance companies to stop selling unit-linked insurance plans has turned into full-fledged regulatory battle with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority issuing its own order directing the 14 companies to continue selling ULIPSs.

“After due consultation with the members of the consultative committee all the 14 insurance companies which are mentioned in the order of SEBI are directed to note that notwithstanding the said order of the SEBI, they shall continue to carry out insurance business as usual including offering, marketing and servicing ULIPSs in accordance with the Insurance Act 1938” IRDA said in a late evening order on Saturday signed by chairman J Harinarayan.

In the order IRDA observed that SEBI’s order would upset financial stability, jeorpardise policy holders interest and was prejudicial to the interest of insurers. The 14 companies mentioned in this order include; Aegon Religare, Aviva, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, Bharti AXA, Birla Sun Life, HDFC Standard Life, ICICI Prudential, ING Vyasa Life, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life, Max New York Life, Metlife India, Reliance Life, SBI Life, TATA AIG Life.

“The IRDA Act `99 is specifically enacted to provide for an authority to protect the interests of holders of insurance policies, to regulate, promote and ensure the orderly growth of the insurance industry” IRDA said. The insurance industry was greatly relieved by IRDA’s order. “It is now between the regulators who have to settle this among themselves” said a senior industry official.

SEBI’s order has more far reaching implications than a press release or a circular. Since the order has been issued under Section 34(i) (a) and (b) of the insurance Act. IRDA has said that in the year `08-09 ULIPS policies involving a total premium of Rs 90,645 cr were in force. In fiscal `09-10 upto February 16.7 lakh policies have been sold with a premium of Rs 44,611crores. “It is also observed that the 14 insurance companies have an equity capital of Rs 16,281cr as on March 2009” IRDA said.

The insurance regulator said that observance of SEBI’s order would cause the stoppage of all renewals of insurance policies already invested by the insuring public may result in forced premature surrender of insurance policies causing substantial loss to the policyholders and to the insurers. “The effective stoppage of the sale of the products would cause a complete drying up of revenue flows to the insurance companies which could disrupt the payment of benefits on maturity, on death and on other admissible claims, putting the policyholder and the general public to irreparable financial loss. The financial position of the insurers will be seriously jeopardized thus destabilizing the market and upsetting financial stability” IRDA said.

IRDA IS FIRST TO BLOW CONCH – DIN’T YOU HEAR THE WAR CRY

SEBI’s order asking 14 insurance companies to stop selling unit-linked insurance plans has turned into full-fledged regulatory battle with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority issuing its own order directing the 14 companies to continue selling ULIPSs.

“After due consultation with the members of the consultative committee all the 14 insurance companies which are mentioned in the order of SEBI are directed to note that notwithstanding the said order of the SEBI, they shall continue to carry out insurance business as usual including offering, marketing and servicing ULIPSs in accordance with the Insurance Act 1938” IRDA said in a late evening order on Saturday signed by chairman J Harinarayan.

In the order IRDA observed that SEBI’s order would upset financial stability, jeorpardise policy holders interest and was prejudicial to the interest of insurers. The 14 companies mentioned in this order include; Aegon Religare, Aviva, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, Bharti AXA, Birla Sun Life, HDFC Standard Life, ICICI Prudential, ING Vyasa Life, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life, Max New York Life, Metlife India, Reliance Life, SBI Life, TATA AIG Life.


“The IRDA Act `99 is specifically enacted to provide for an authority to protect the interests of holders of insurance policies, to regulate, promote and ensure the orderly growth of the insurance industry” IRDA said. The insurance industry was greatly relieved by IRDA’s order. “It is now between the regulators who have to settle this among themselves” said a senior industry official.

SEBI’s order has more far reaching implications than a press release or a circular. Since the order has been issued under Section 34(i) (a) and (b) of the insurance Act. IRDA has said that in the year `08-09 ULIPS policies involving a total premium of Rs 90,645 cr were in force. In fiscal `09-10 up to February 16.7 lakh policies have been sold with a premium of Rs 44,611crores. “It is also observed that the 14 insurance companies have an equity capital of Rs 16,281cr as on March 2009” IRDA said.

The insurance regulator said that observance of SEBI’s order would cause the stoppage of all renewals of insurance policies already invested by the insuring public may result in forced premature surrender of insurance policies causing substantial loss to the policyholders and to the insurers. “The effective stoppage of the sale of the products would cause a complete drying up of revenue flows to the insurance companies which could disrupt the payment of benefits on maturity, on death and on other admissible claims, putting the policyholder and the general public to irreparable financial loss. The financial position of the insurers will be seriously jeopardized thus destabilizing the market and upsetting financial stability” IRDA said.

POLICE DECIDES TO TURN SPECTOR

The finance ministry today kept a safe distance from the ongoing row between market regulator SEBI and insurance watchdog IRDA over ULIPs, saying the two regulators have to resolve the issue.

“It’s a matter between regulators; so they have to decide,” finance secretary Ashok Chawla told when sought his comments on yesterday’s SEBI decision to ban 14 life insurers from raising any more money from the unit-linked insurance plans (ULIPs) in which a portion of the premium amount is invested in stock markets, a move opposed by the insurance regulator.

The SEBI decision was taken after the market regulator had sent notices to these companies asking them as to explain why they did not take its permission to launch these schemes.

Insurance regulator IRDA is understood to have stated in its reply that regulation of ULIPs by IRDA is well-laid down and that it does not agree with SEBI contention that insurers need a certificate of registration from the market regulator for dealing in ULIPs.

The issue was also taken up at the meeting of the inter-regulatory body, the High Level Coordination Committee (HLCC). It was decided at the meeting that the two regulators should settle the issue between themselves.

Chawla said the SEBI and IRDA have not so far been able to come to any resolution. “So, SEBI has taken a legal process. He was going to be silent spectator to see the fire power of both Regulators.

 

Always Yours   — As Usual — Saurabh Singh, India

[Thanks are expressed for too many peple]

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