Gold strengthens on buying support

Marginal rise in global prices also helped to boost prices

Gold prices rose further by Rs45 to trade at Rs16,925 per 10gm on the bullion market here today on sustained buying amid a firming global trend, reports PTI.

Standard gold and ornaments extended gains for the second straight day and added another Rs45 each to Rs16,925 and Rs16,775 per 10gm, respectively. They had gained Rs135 in the previous session.

Sovereign followed suit and gained Rs25 to Rs14,050 per 8gm piece.

The trading sentiment remained firm after gold in overseas markets, which normally set the price trend on the domestic front, rose by 0.1% to $1,148.35 an ounce in Singapore.

In line with the general trend, silver ready strengthened further by Rs210 to Rs27,910 per kg and weekly-based delivery by Rs180 to Rs27,510 per kg.

However, silver coins remained around previous levels of Rs33,600 for buying and Rs33,700 for selling of 100 pieces.


New business for life insurance industry grew 25% in FY2010

According to industry sources, the 23 life insurers mopped up a first year premium of Rs1.09 lakh crore in 2009-10 compared to Rs87,108 crore in the previous year

Led by State-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), new business for the life insurance industry recorded a growth of 25% during 2009-10, overcoming the decline witnessed a year ago on account of the global financial meltdown, reports PTI.

According to industry sources, the 23 life insurers mopped up a first year premium of Rs1.09 lakh crore in 2009-10 compared to Rs87,108 crore in the previous year. In 2008-09, the insurers registered de-growth of 6%.

In 2009-10, LIC collected a premium of Rs70,891 crore compared to Rs52,954 crore in 2008-09, thereby growing by around 34% during the year. The market share of LIC has also increased to 65% in 2009-10 compared to around 61% in the previous year.

The other 22 private insurers mopped up a first year premium of Rs38,399 crore in FY2010, compared to Rs34,154 crore during the previous year, translating into a growth of over 12%.

Among private life insurers, SBI Life emerged as the biggest player. The insurer collected
Rs7,041 crore as first year premium in the last fiscal compared to Rs5,386 crore in 2008-09, thereby growing by over 30%.

However, ICICI Prudential, which was at the top position in 2008-09, registered a 7% de-growth during 2009-10.

It managed to mop up Rs6,334 crore premium in the last fiscal as against Rs6,813 crore in 2008-09.

Among other big players, Reliance Life collected Rs3,921 crore as first year premium in 2009-10, compared to Rs3,541 crore in the previous year, thereby growing by over 10%.
Bajaj Allianz collected Rs4,451 crore during 2009-10 compared to Rs4,492 crore in 2008-09, registering a de-growth of around 1% during the year.

HDFC Standard Life grew by 23% during 2009-10 in terms of new business. The insurer collected Rs3,261 crore in the last fiscal compared to Rs2,644 crore in 2008-09.

In terms of policies sold during 2009-10, ADAG Group company Reliance Life Insurance emerged as the leader among the 22 private sector life insurers.

During the year, the company sold about 23.2 lakh policies against 22.1 lakh in the previous year.

Reliance is closely followed by Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, which sold 22.3 lakh policies in the same period.

Other players like ICICI Prudential Life sold as many as 17.6 lakh policies, while the insurance venture promoted by SBI roped in 13.5 lakh new customers during the year.

The private sector, comprising 22 players, collectively sold 1.4 crore policies in FY210, lower than the figure of 1.5 crore in the previous fiscal.

However, the largest player in the life insurance segment, State-owned LIC, sold 3.8 crore policies compared to 3.5 crore policies in 2008-09.

As a result, the total number of new policies sold by the 23 life insurance companies together covered an additional 5.3 crore lives in 2009-10, compared to about 5.1 crore in the previous year.


Mobile batteries: 'Cheap' may cost you dear

Original batteries always perform better than those bought from street vendors at rock-bottom rates

India is one of the fastest-growing mobile markets in the world. According to latest figures released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), at the end of February, the country's total wireless (mobile) subscriber base reached 563.73 million (56.4 crore), with an overall tele-density of over 51%.

With this kind of growth, no wonder, all kinds of mobile handset manufacturers and accessory makers are reaping huge profits, by using any method. For example, out of the total 563 million users, if about 10% of them have to replace a battery annually, then there is a market for 5.6 million or 56 lakh batteries, every year!

This 'potential' has attracted numerous cheap (and mostly fake or refurbished) batteries which are available at various streets. Last when I checked, I found 'long-lasting' mobile batteries of almost all handsets available at a street vendor for as low as Rs50 a piece. This is in contrast to the sky-high prices of original mobile batteries. For example, BST-36, an original battery from Sony Ericsson costs Rs1,299; a battery which looks the same is available for about Rs100 at any street vendor.

Most batteries available with street vendors are fake and mostly refurbished batteries. Sometimes, these batteries may even explode, causing damage to both the battery and the phone. (I have witnessed one such incident, where the battery was purchased from an Indian manufacturer, in the hope that it would be better in quality than Chinese ones). Second, the life and output of these cheap batteries is always lower than original batteries.

One techie, Doug Simmons, actually did a study comparing original and third-party or 'duplicate' batteries. Checking the claims of original and duplicate battery manufacturers on the output and life of these units, Mr Simmons found that original batteries made by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are reasonably accurate and live up to their promised ratings, such as output and life span. Third-party batteries are consistently 20% to 30% weaker than their claims. (Check the results of this test here:

Now, the question is, how can you distinguish an original battery from its duplicate counterpart? First and most important, buy the original battery from an authorised dealer of the particular mobile handset and get a bill for it. Second, know the type/model (e.g. BL-C5) of your battery along with its output—measured in mAh (milliampere-hour) or in volts. Inspect the contact pins on the battery; they should be bright yellow without any scratches. Last, dispose your used battery properly and carefully, since there are chances that it may come back to you as a 'new and original' battery by way of refurbishing. 

In 2004, Nokia had come out with a hologram sticker on its OEM battery. The hologram label on Nokia batteries consists of a holographic image as well as an authentication code hidden under a scratch-off area on the label. However, there is no such initiative from other mobile handset manufacturers.

To curtail this phenomenon of refurbishing mobile batteries, both OEMs and users will have to take some initiatives. For starters, OEMs can offer certain discounts on new batteries to customers who return the old unit for recycling, similar to the discounts offered on inverter batteries. In our country, the word 'discount' often works like a magic wand and may help both OEMs and customers.

Customers should also refrain from buying mobile batteries from roadside vendors or from the Internet, since here the chances of you being taken for a ride are high. Paying a little more can actually save you money, as far as mobile batteries are concerned.




7 years ago

Good eye opener ! But let me tell you problems faced by mobile users/owners. True, that the batteries that come original with mobile phone are the best. But when after using the mobile for 3-4 years, when that battery starts wearing out, you are forced to look for a replacement. This is when you realise that the mobile company has 'conveniently' stopped supplying their original battery in the replacement market and you are forced to buy 'duplicate' chinese make, not from road side vendors but even established mobile retail outlets such as ALFA at Irla, Mumbai. Ofcourse, the good thing is that they tell you upfront that these are not original and will not give the same result. But then the question is if you cannot get an original replacement and should not buy a duplicate one, what to do with your 3-4 year old phone ? This is the way mobile companies are forcing us to buy new mobile phones rather than replacing the batteries. They purposely stop the battery supplies after say 2 years knowing fully well that even if the mobile lasts longer, it will become unusable without an original battery replacement and more so with a duplicate one after 1-2 more year/s.

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