Citizens' Issues
Hangover kits on hand as Mumbai prepares to party
New Year's eve festivities can take an unwanted turn but fret not if alcohol gets the better of you -- help is just a call away.
 
Home healthcare startup Care24 offers a service where an ambulance-cum-van will be sent armed with a hangover kit. 
 
"People can opt for this service by calling Care24’s hotline number 022-399-67670. After receiving a call, Care24 will send a Care Van to help people in an inebriated state to get back on their feet. These vans will be stationed close to prominent city pubs in areas around Bandra and Lower Parel," a statement said. 
 
"Pub owners have been informed about this facility in advance so they can avail of it before things get unpleasant and a New Year’s eve party becomes a dampener," the statement added.
 
"December 31 is all about indulgence and drunken revelry. But a little too much and the party can become a nightmare. We just want to reach out and reassure Mumbaiites that there's someone to take care of them and their loved ones when the situation gets out of hand," Ankit Agrawal of Care24 said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Deepening of the annuity market? Focus on other issues first
The RBI report expresses the need to develop the pension sector, but fails to focus on other major issues
 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its latest Financial Stability Report (FSR) mentioned that more steps are needed to “boost the annuity market to deepen and widen the pension sector”. The RBI laments that though 40% of the pension wealth needs to be annuitized for a regular stream of income, this may not be providing the optimal outcomes in terms of returns. Moneylife Research has found that annuity products from insurance companies yield just about 6%-7% pre-tax at best. Thus, RBI expresses the need to develop deferred annuity and other post retirement products, which ensure optimal post-retirement returns to subscribers. However, the FSR fails to address several other issues that riddle retirement products.
 
There is no dearth of retirement products available. Provident fund from the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), annuity and pension plans from insurance companies, retirement schemes from mutual funds, the national pension system (NPS) and the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) from the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), and other schemes offered by the post-office. Of these, incentive to sell is maximum for insurance products where regulation is lax and returns are the worst. Not surprisingly, insurance products are mis-sold the most. Therefore, there no need to develop and create more choice and confusion among consumers. There is a need to improve upon and promote right products effectively.
 
The FSR report also expressed a need to align investment framework for government employees. “The choice of pension funds and investment patterns should rest with an individual employee. There is a need for shifting the risk from employer to the employee, where the onus of ‘funding’ old age income security moves from the employer to individual employee, through his/her individual retirement accounts,” the report stated, with the focus to deepen and widen the pension sector.
 
The FSR fails to touch upon the product design, taxation or regulation of various pension schemes available. The products are all structured differently and fall under different rules of taxation, even through they are meant to serve the same investment purpose. For example, in NPS, the investment is locked till retirement, however, in the case of mutual fund retirement plans, the lock-in period is just five years and an exit load of just 1% charged if withdrawn before retirement. Under equity linked savings schemes (ELSS), the lock-in is just three years. Similarly, in PPF, the interest is tax-free where as for other fixed-income products targeted at senior citizens, such as senior citizens saving scheme (SCSS), the interest is taxable.
 
With the diverse structure of pension schemes, each product falls under different regulator. Therefore, PFRDA, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), all have their own set of rules governing each product category, creating more confusion for savers. The cost structure and tracking of mutual fund schemes has been made very transparent. This is not the case in insurance products.
 
The report further mentions that the socio-economic implications of nurturing pension sector can be derived from the fact that the government is presently spending about 2.2% of the GDP on pension payments, which, according to one estimate may reach 4.1% of GDP by 2030. The PFRDA seeks to ensure that benefits of a sustainable pension system reach out beyond present target groups without straining the fiscal discipline and simultaneously providing long-term investment funds for the economy, it states. However, for this to happen, several changes in the design, taxation and regulation of pension products is needed.
 

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Centre revokes AAP government's suspension of 2 officials
New Delhi : The union Home ministry on Thursday declared null and void the suspension of two officers belonging to the 'DANICS' cadre by the Delhi government.
 
This comes as at least 200 senior bureaucrats of Delhi government went on a day's leave of absence on Thursday as a sign of protest against the suspension of the two officials.
 
The decision to go on a mass leave was taken by the members of the DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) Officers' Association.
 
Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party government had suspended Subhash Chandra, special secretary (prisons), and Yashpal Garg, special secretary (prosecution), for allegedly refusing to sign a file pertaining to a cabinet decision to increase the salary of public prosecutors.
 
Meanwhile, Delhi's Home Minister Satyendra Jain said the strike would not make any difference to the functioning of the government.
 
"There are lakhs of people working in Delhi government. If some people go on leave, it will not make any difference," Jain said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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