Employers must take out health cover for workers: Ahluwalia

New Delhi: Making it mandatory for organised sector employers to take health insurance cover for employees will help spread the reach of insurance products, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia suggested today, reports PTI.

"There has to be a mandatory provision for providing group health insurance cover to all workers in the organised sector by their employers", he said at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Health Insurance Summit here.

He said, "I think it is feasible, the government should give very serious consideration to this (making it mandatory for employers to get group insurance for their workers)."

"We will never be able to spread (health) insurance for which people pay unless an element of incentive-cum-compulsion is introduced. If you leave it to people, only rich persons would buy...even middle class would not go for it," he said.

Although India's private health insurance industry's business volumes have grown by over 35% a year in the last few years, a staggering 85% of the population remains uninsured, according to industry estimates.

An 'India [email protected]' report suggests that about 65% of the people that incur expenditures on major health problems become indebted for life.

One of incentives, Mr Ahluwalia suggested, could be exempting the part contribution of health insurance premium for workers by the employer.

Ahluwalia thinks that there is no point creating public infrastructure that does not work properly and general public end up bearing the entire expenditure on getting a patient treated.

Asked about whether the private insurance companies should provide cashless health insurance cover, Mr Ahluwalia said, "We cannot say that all private insurance companies must run cashless (health) insurance."

Admitting that the government's move of making mandatory health insurance cover for all organised worker would not be the only solution, he said that it is true that we cannot do it for self-employed people, but government is running a Rashtriya Sawasthya Bima Yojana for them.

Under the scheme, a free health insurance cover for medical treatment of up to Rs30,000 is provided to the people below poverty line. The insurance premium is shared between Centre and state in the ratio of 75:25%.

He said, "The Centre and states together spending little over 1% of the gross domestic product (GDP) on public health service which was even lower than one percentage point three year ago."

"We want to scale the spent on health service to over 3% of GDP, but we have to think that the expenditure would be entirely on creating public health infrastructure or a part of it should be used to providing health insurance cover to people", he added.


Mind Care For Mental Help

The Moneylife Team looks at Vandrevala Foundation that deals with mental health

In a crowded city like Mumbai, it is not uncommon to see someone suffering from dyslexia or a mental health disorder. But most people know little about mental health issues unless a close friend or family member suffers from a disorder. Do you know that there are 43 mental health hospitals in India, all set up before 1947? A National Human Rights Commission study says: There are only two kinds of hospitals. The first are ‘dumping grounds’ for families to abandon their mentally ill member, for either economic reasons or a lack of understanding and awareness of mental illness. The second type of hospitals provides basic living amenities but the treatment focuses on managing patients rather than enhancing their living skills. In addition, there is the stigma associated with mental illnesses and, often, a refusal to acknowledge a problem. Yet, “a massive 8%-10% of the population apparently suffers from major or minor mental illness,” says Dr Arun John, executive vice president of the Vandrevala Foundation. 

  “When we started out with a mission to improve mental health in India over a year ago, we were hoping to write cheques to a couple of non-government organisations (NGOs), be able to review their results four times a year and pat ourselves on the back for making a difference. What ensued was a discovery of the dark corners of disease, the discrimination and the realisation that we had no idea about what we were trying to achieve, let alone how to do it,” says Priya Hiranandani Vandrevala, chief executive officer of Hirco PLC, a real-estate investment company.

Founded and fully funded by Priya and Cyrus Vandrevala, the Vandrevala Foundation began operations on 3 August 2009 by launching ‘The Mental Health Initiative’. As a first step, it launched a 24x7 mental health helpline. Its mission is to create community-based mental health services, increase awareness of mental health, provide access to improved treatment to every individual irrespective of economic status and enable patients and their families the opportunity for recovery and reintegration into society. 

Dr John says, “We are looking for strategic partners —corporates, like-minded individuals or NGOs with the same goals to help us in our endeavour.” Interestingly, the Vandrevala Foundation says it is a not-for-profit that works like a ‘for-profit’ organisation, but for social profits, not economic gains.

“Preventive action is possible and necessary for physical illness, but there is no such thing for mental illness,” says Dr John. So the Foundation runs a 24x7 helpline (022-2570 6000) to counsel people in need. It also has senior psychiatrists available for acute psychiatric emergency or complex issues. It helps arrange free ambulance services; helps arrange admissions to mental-care facilities; and follows up to track the status of mentally-ill persons to ensure that they stick to treatment. It arranges meetings with psychiatrists. The idea behind the helpline is the realisation that often people know they need help, but don’t know who to turn to. 

The Vandrevala Foundation also supports entrepreneurial, social-sector start-ups which local governments are unable, or unwilling, to fund. The Foundation plans to expand its helplines to Pune, Nashik and Nagpur. “The ultimate goal is a pan-India presence,” says Dr John. Currently, the Foundation has 12 clinical psychologists as well as five mid-level and four senior psychiatrists on its rolls.
It also has a network of 70 psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors all over Mumbai who support the cause. It has students who can communicate in English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati manning the helplines. It has two tiers of psychiatrists who look into mental illness cases, depending on the severity of affliction. It also plans to set up crisis management face-to-face counselling and support groups and to upgrade mental hospitals in Maharashtra.

If you know of someone who needs help, you can call or email the Vandrevala Foundation.

VandrevalaFoundation:Sigma, 6th floor, Central Avenue,
Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai 400 076         
Telephone: +91-22-2570 6000       
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.vandrevalafoundation.com


RIL 2nd among world's largest value creators: BCG

Boston: Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) has been ranked second in the list of world's 10 biggest 'sustainable value creators'-companies that have been successful in creating the most shareholder value over the last decade-prepared by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), reports PTI.

The list compiled by the global management consulting firm names Brazil-based mining and materials giant Vale as the top value creator worldwide for the 2000-2009 period.

"One side effect of the Great Recession has been to accelerate the ascent of companies from rapidly developing economies to the top ranks of the world's creators of shareholder value," BCG said in the report titled 'Threading the Needle: Value Creation in a Low-Growth Economy'.

The ranking identifies large global companies with a market capitalisation of at least $35 billion that have been the "most successful at sustaining superior value creation over 10 years."

BCG says a decade is the minimum time frame necessary to evaluate the staying power of a company's value creation performance.

The report has also listed companies industry-wise for creating the most value for their shareholders from 2005 to 2009. Starting from a database of more than 4,000 companies worldwide, the report presents detailed analyses of the Total Shareholder Return (TSR) at 712 companies across 14 major industries for the five-year period.

Of the top 142 companies included in this year's global and industry rankings, 81 are located in developing economies.

In a further indication of how emerging economies are pulling ahead of developed countries, the top 10 value creators in the 712-company sample are all from Asia-five companies listed on stock exchanges in China, two in Hong Kong, and one each in India, Indonesia, and South Korea.

Similarly, seven of the top ten large-cap value creators (those with market valuations of more than $35 billion) are listed on stock exchanges in rapidly developing economies of Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Mexico and South Korea.

"Most developing economies are rebounding relatively quickly to their previous growth levels. In contrast, developed economies are entering an extended period of below-average growth with profound implications for how companies create value and which companies come out on top," report co-author Daniel Stelter said.

Indian mining and materials giant Jindal Steel and Power (JSP) occupies the number two spot in the BCG list of the 'Global Top 10' value creator companies for the 2005-2009 period.

RIL again comes second in the 'Large Cap firms' for 2005-2009 of 112 global companies with a market valuation of more than $35 billion.

In industry-specific rankings, auto major Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) occupies the fourth spot among 38 automotive companies that created most value for shareholders in 2005-2009 period followed by Hero Honda Motors at sixth and Maruti Suzuki India at the seventh spot.

In the chemicals industry, RIL has been named the second biggest value creator of 53 global firms during the period behind South Korea's OCI.

In the consumer goods category, ITC ranks sixth among the top 10 companies, while Larsen and Toubro (L&T) (sixth) and Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) (seventh) are among the 77 companies that have created the most shareholder value in the machinery and construction segment.

Telecom company Bharti Airtel and Infosys Technologies occupy the seventh and ninth spot respectively in the technology and telecommunications category for the 2005-2009 period.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)