Think twice before you accept free mediclaim offer for being a valuable credit card holder. If you bite the bait, you may end up not just paying for the mediclaim but also running around to get back your money
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Gujarat State, dismissed the appeal against the order of the Ahmedabad City Forum, holding Healthcops ICICI Lombard General Insurance Ltd and ICICI Bank liable for deficiency in service in a complaint filed by Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS), Ahmedabad, and Deepak Khatwani, a customer of ICICI Bank.
The Forum, by its award dated 30 December 2011, had directed ICICI Lombard General Insurance to credit to Mr Khatwani’s savings bank account Rs 19,049 within two months from the date of the order. The company should also pay him 7% interest on the amount from the date of its debit from his savings account to its credit to that account. The company shall also refund to him Rs2,210, illegally recovered from him, with 7% interest from the date of recovery until payment.
The Forum had also directed Healthcops ICICI Lombard General Insurance and ICICI Bank Credit Card Division, Ahmedabad, to pay Mr Khatwani Rs2,000 each for mental agony and Rs2,000 towards cost.
The complainants’ case was that ICICI Bank had issued a credit card to Mr Khatwani in February 2005. He used it occasionally, made regular payments and there had been no complaints up to February 2007.
On 16 February 2007, Mr Khatwani was telephonically informed that, he being “a valuable ICICI credit card holder, ICICI Lombard was offering him, through the bank, a healthcare policy free for two years, after which it would be chargeable. He accepted the offer and received a health policy from Healthcops ICICI Lombard. The policy mentioned, among other things, the sum insured as Rs3 lakh and the period of insurance from 22 February 2007 to 21 February 2008.
But, contrary to the terms of the offer of two years’ free policy, Mr Khatwani received an ICICI Credit Card statement dated 21 May 2007 from ICICI Bank showing the total amount due as Rs2,728.55 and reflecting EMI interest, EMI principal, service tax and late payment fee.
Mr Khatwani wrote to Healthcops ICICI Lombard and ICICI Bank, requesting them to confirm that the policy was free for two years, clear his credit card bills or else cancel his health policy, and to clear his credit card dues. Subsequent to the request, the company cancelled the policy.
What followed this letter was a seemingly unending repetition of the opposite parties’ sending monthly statements and Mr Khatwani receiving and protesting them, as the “dues” mounted, inclusive of late payment fees, interest, etc.
After a few months, Mr Khatwani started getting repeated phone calls, marked by an abusive, vulgar, uncultured language and threats of dire consequences and heavy penalty. Even an agent was sent to Mr Khatwani’s house in his absence and a female member in the house was made to pay Rs2210.
Mr Khatwani gave a legal notice to the opposite parties on 24 November 2007. Instead of replying to the notice, they issued monthly statements from November 2007 to February 2008, showing the total amount due as Rs17,117.40 (as per the February 2008 statement).
Mr Khatwani, then approached CERS which took up the matter with the opposite parties.
Meanwhile, ignoring Mr Khatwani’s legal notice, ICICI Bank slapped on him its notice on “unpaid outstanding dues of Rs17,117.40 in respect of his credit card. It called upon him to pay the amount within seven days. On failure to do so, the amount would be recovered from his savings account by exercising their right of banker’s lien.
Eventually, Mr Khatwani received a statement of transactions in his savings account for the period 1-30 April 2008, reflecting the withdrawal of Rs. 19,049.08 by debiting his savings account exercising the banker’s lien as threatened in the bank’s notice.
On 30 July 2008, CERS and Mr Khatwani had complained to the Forum.
The Forum allowed the complainant on 30 December 2011 against which ICICI Lombard filed an appeal before the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Ahmedabad. No such appeal was filed by Healthcops and ICICI Bank.
There is a Wall Street saying: “As goes January, so goes the year.” There is a merit in this. We may end the year higher.
At the beginning of every year you must have noticed that investors, market analysts, policy makers often debate the future of the market and come up with various theories - some interesting, some wild and some way too ridiculous – to predict whether our market is likely to end positive or negative. We decided to dig up some numbers, purely based on facts and have come up some very interesting findings.
Over the last 20 years of data, there has been a pattern which we not only notice in Indian markets but also the world over. The pattern which we call “January Effect” seemed to decide the fate of the markets at the end of the year. When the markets close positively at the end of January, and subsequently the year ends on a positive note as well, we call it the “January Effect”.
This is the first instance since 2007 that our markets have closed in the black in the month of January. Not only did the BSE Sensex close positively, but all major indices has ended positive as well. Will the close be positive for this year too? If history is any indicator, which, of course, must be treated with some scepticism, there might be good chance that this year might end on a positive note.
Let us take a look at our findings. Over the last 21 years, the BSE Sensex, during January, has been up 10 times and down 11 times. However, out of the 10 years it closed positively, the year eventually ended up on a positive note 80% of the time. In fact, the only years that the “January Effect” didn’t seem to conform were during the 2000-2002 period, when our markets were hit by the Ketan Parekh scam and the global dot-com meltdown.
If we look at the other side of the coin - the years markets closed negative in the month of January - the outcome was random - it was up 6 times while it fell 5 times. You would have been better off tossing a coin.
Take a look at the global markets over the last 21 years. The chart below depicts how closely the markets at the end of the year mirrors with how the markets close in January. In the past 21 years, the Chinese market (Shanghai Composite) ended up positive 11 times at the end of January. On 9 out these 11 occasions, a high correlation of 81%, the market closed positive at the end of the year.
NASDAQ and Dow had the same story to tell. In these markets, the yearend outcome closely followed that of January -- 78% and a whopping 92% respectively. Conversely, on 8 occasions when Dow was down in January, it ended higher 50% of the time – totally random.
During the last 21 years, when DAX, the German index, ended positive in January, it ended the year higher 75% of the time. Hang Seng closed up 77% of the time, while in case of FTSE the correlation was as high as 80%.
An emerging market like Mexico exhibited similar behaviour as well. The markets ended up on the positive note 80% of the time when the January was positive.
But if January delivers a big return, is anything left for the rest of the year? Interestingly, a positive January seemed to have a positive ripple effect throughout the year. For instance, out of 10 times BSE Sensex ended positive in January, the remaining 11 months continued to stay positive and delivered returns greater than January 50% of the time. Similar conclusions can be said of other indices as well. In case of Nasdaq the remaining 11 months delivered greater returns than January 10 out of 14 times, while Hang Seng had 7 out of 9 times where remaining 11 months trumped January’s; DAX’s ratio was 75%.
The Congress president said the government cannot ignore the complaints that are coming regarding the irregularities and corruption in the MGNREGA scheme
New Delhi: Pitching for immediate reforms in the Centre's flagship rural job scheme MGNREGA, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said the complaints of corruption and irregularities regarding the scheme cannot be ignored, reports PTI.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Ms Gandhi also expressed concern over delay in wage payment to MGNREGA workers, emphasising the need to ensure that they get it within 15 days.
"Talks about reform in MGNREGA are taking place for quite a long time. The time has now come that we implement them...We cannot ignore the complaints that are coming regarding the irregularities and corruption in the scheme," Ms Gandhi said addressing the MGNREGA Conference 2012 here.
Ms Gandhi said that she was happy that the CAG will also look into the expenditure under the scheme. "Corruption in MGNREGA is a great injustice to the country and a crime in respect of the Father of the Nation after which it is named," she said.
"We have achieved successes in MGNREGA in last six years but there are still many challenges before us. The biggest concern is to ensure timely wage payments to workers. For this, the banks and post offices will have to increase their reach. Our effort will be to ensure that the workers get their wages within 15 days," Dr Singh said.
Ms Gandhi said, “The delay in payment of their wages is illegal and unacceptable to us under any circumstances. We will have to ensure that MGNREGA workers get timely payment."
Flagging the challenges ahead in the implementation of the scheme, Ms Gandhi also pointed out, "There is unfortunately apathy towards it in some states especially those states, which are considered poor."
In an indication that the UPA's flagship scheme could undergo crucial changes in near future, Ms Gandhi wondered that while MGNREA is primarily a guarantee against poverty and employment in rural areas, whether it can be also used for bringing comprehensive reform in public health or managing natural resources in a better way in rural areas.
The Prime Minister also felt that MGNREGA could play a key role in all-round development of villages. "But for this, there will be a need to coordinate this scheme with other schemes for rural development," he said.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said that the shortcomings and criticism of MGNREGA cannot be ignored and promised to bring changes and reforms shortly. "We have already discussed the issue with the states and will be making it public by the next month," he said.
Noting that lack of staffs lead to delays in completing the processes required for timely payment of wages to MGNREGA workers, the Prime Minister asked the states to give greater emphasis on resolving this issue.
Dr Singh was of the view that the full potential of MGNREGA has not been exploited till now and voiced confidence that if the scheme was run properly and implemented better at ground level, this can become a model rural development scheme.
The Prime Minister said a second green revolution could be facilitated by developing land providing irrigation facilities under MGNREGA.
"We desire that small farmers and poor families in particular benefit from this scheme. Hence, we have recently decided that works related to irrigation, farming and land development can be done on the land belonging to the SC, ST and BPL people," he said.
Dr Singh felt the rate of development will go up in the districts, where MGNREGA is implemented, reducing the reasons for which people sometimes adopt the path of violence.
Echoing similar views, Ms Gandhi noted that some changes should be brought in the scheme for Naxal-affected districts. She said that panchayats, which have primary responsibility for implementing MGNREGA, were being strengthened.
She said the scheme has helped arrest migration from the affected parts of the country as people were getting jobs closer to their homes.