The initiatives include negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement aimed at not only liberalising existing bilateral trade of $14 billion and taking it up to $25 billion by 2015, but securing access for Indian services like education and health in the 250 million people Indonesian market
Jakarta: With an eye on mineral resources like coal, India is scaling up its economic ties with Indonesia and the move is being helped by big Indian business houses like the Tatas, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and Aditya Birla Group, reports PTI.
Indian commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma is leading a big CII delegation, headed by well-known industrialist Vijay R Kirloskar, to develop new linkages with the Indonesian government and industry.
The initiatives include negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement aimed at not only liberalising existing bilateral trade of $14 billion and taking it up to $25 billion by 2015, but securing access for Indian services like education and health in the 250 million people Indonesian market.
"India and Indonesia can do much more in the changing world," Mr Sharma said at a reception hosted by the India-Indonesian Chamber of Commerce on Monday night.
He said while Indian business houses have invested $20 billion in sectors like steel, power and coal, Indonesia should allow access to Indian pharmaceuticals, which have made a name for themselves in the world market.
Indian drug companies are the second largest receivers of US Food and Drug Administration approvals.
"The Indian generic companies changed the global discourse and broke the stranglehold of MNCs in the world pharma market," he said.
When it comes to tapping natural resources and the growing market in Indonesia, Indian firms are not lagging behind their competitors. Tata Power has picked up a 30% strategic stake in PT Kaltim Prima Coal and PT Arutmin Indonesia and established coal linkages for its Mundra power project in Gujarat.
Likewise, the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group has bought coal assets and is developing the same. The Adanis have also done similar deals in the coal business. Indonesia has emerged as the world's foremost producer and exporter of thermal coal, ahead of Australia, an official said.
"In two-three years, Indonesia will contribute 150 million tonnes of coal to India," said Biren Nanda, India's ambassador to Indonesia.
In 2010, coal shipments from Indonesia to India stood at about 50 million tonnes, which is expected to rise to 70 million tonnes in the current year.
Mr Nanda, who has been in Jakarta for three-and-a-half years, said economic ties between the two countries have seen a sea change in the last few years. Government-to-government talks have been scaled up to ministerial levels from lower level official talks earlier.
With respect to Indian firms doing business in Indonesia, the TVS Group has set up a two-wheeler manufacturing plant, which it wants to leverage for the entire South-East Asian market, a senior group official said.
Mr Kirloskar, who is chairman and managing director of Kirloskar Electric Company, said Indian firms have unique advantages in respect to the competition from China in markets like Indonesia.
"The Chinese cannot do everything. The Chinese have not developed the Nano car, we have developed it," he said.
The IRDA portability circular says that the prospective insurance company will lose the right to reject a proposal if there is a delay of more than 15 days in receiving all relevant information from the existing insurer. How can the insurance watchdog implement this circular?
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority's (IRDA) mediclaim portability circular intends to protect the insurance policyholders' interest and it also sets strict timelines for existing and the prospective insurance company to comply with the guidelines for smooth portability implementation. However, the ground reality may lead to the insured being booted out by the existing insurer-and not being accepted by the prospective insurer.
This will effectively mean that an insured person opting for mediclaim portability may end up in no-man's land.
Industry sources told Moneylife, "Getting the medical & claims history from an existing insurer within seven days itself will be a big challenge. How will IRDA implement the default acceptance of an insurance proposal if the prospective insurer does not respond within 15 days of receipt of information from the existing insurer? It is not valid in a court of law. If the insurance company (to whom the insured wants to shift) has not issued a policy, nobody can hold it liable to pay any claim. There is no way an insured can say that he has a claim against the prospective insurance company in this case. There has been a court judgment in the past, which states that paying premium and having receipt of the same is not evidence of an insurance contract. Only a policy document is evidence of an insurance contract.
"If push comes to shove, the insurer can always ask for a hefty premium or policy terms having high co-pay and sub-limits, which will dissuade the customer from porting. Moreover, the prospective insurer can always deny the portability proposal within the IRDA timeline under the power of 'right to underwrite'. Therein lies the problem. Portability will remain an illusion-it won't work out on the ground."
Though IRDA's intentions are noble, what will an insured person do if he is faced with such a situation? The problem will be more pronounced especially for senior citizens, who have neither the time, energy nor the resources to run from pillar to post for a valid mediclaim policy. And there are more glitches that could crop up.
"On a case-to-case basis, the existing insurer may not be too keen to continue, once the policyholder has shown an interest to port. The policyholder will not have the new premium quote as the procedure for porting has to start 45 days before the expiration of the policy. Without the knowledge of new premium to make a sound portability decision, the policyholder is shooting in the dark. If the prospective insurer rejects the proposal, the policyholder will have to run around to get a quote from the existing insurer… just before the policy expiration date."
So if you are planning to switch your insurer, be prepared for a bumpy portability ride. The need for portability is real and IRDA's recognition of the same is a step in the right direction. It will work in simple and straightforward cases, especially for the young with no pre-existing diseases (PED).
Obviously, insurers will lure this target segment. The sections that will be the most affected will be the elderly and those with PED-ironically, both these categories need comprehensive mediclaim policies.
So will insurance portability have a smooth take-off? Or will it be bogged down by the issues detailed above? Moneylife will keep a close watch and keep you posted on the developments in this crucial front.
TRAI's decision to limit text messages to 100 SMSes per day has robbed the hearing handicapped with a handy way of communicating with their families and friends. "Since they can't make phone calls, they depend heavily on SMS and easily send more than 100 messages per day," says Meera Suresh, honorary vice-president of Bala Vidyalaya-The School for Young Deaf Children and Institute for Teacher Training
Chennai: Foul cries by businesses and college students aside, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) initiative to check pesky calls and text messages has dealt a cruel blow to the hearing impaired, who feel the SMS cap would rob them of a handy way of communication, reports PTI.
SMS has been a great boon to the hearing impaired and TRAI's latest decision to limit it the service to 100 pages per day has not gone down well with them.
TRAI's decision also comes in the way of communication between hearing impaired students, who live and study away from homes, and their families.
Chennai-based class 11 student Debaprana Sarkar says the cap seems "unnecessarily disturbing her communication."
While there have been demands to exclude the hearing impaired from the rule, Ms Sarkar does not agree with it. "It seems to be stupid and unnecessary. I'm not saying that only hearing impaired people should be excluded from the rule. If my friends can't text more than 100 SMSes, what is the point of me having beyond 100 messages?" she wonders.
"What if there is an emergency and you have exhausted the 100 SMS limit. You should understand our problems too," says the hearing impaired student.
"It is a tight restriction for the deaf. This move has seriously affected my friends who are living away from home for studies. They can't make calls to their homes like other students," says post-graduate student Kevin J (name changed) of Kottayam in Kerala.
But Kevin has a suggestion for TRAI. "TRAI can change the rule to 100 SMSes to different numbers per day. This would restrict only telemarketers and not normal users, since they usually send messages to the same number while chatting."
The TRAI decision has not only sent a disturbing wave among students, but also teachers who handle hearing impaired students.
"All impaired students communicate with each other only by text messages. Even small information such as homework details have to be passed over by messages. Since they can't make phone calls, they depend heavily on SMS and easily send more than 100 messages per day," says Meera Suresh, honorary vice-president of Bala Vidyalaya-The School for Young Deaf Children and Institute for Teacher Training here.
Ms Suresh contends the move should be altered if not revoked at least for the benefit of these students who can't make use of phone calls.
Interestingly, there are some like Anuja Varkey who supports TRAI's restriction despite being a hearing impaired.
"Yes. Honestly speaking, I'm glad TRAI has come up with the restriction, as I look at the health side of it and the mobile phone takes away our attention from our families. So, overall I'm glad," said Ms Anuja, who hails from Kottayam.
But she does acknowledge the difficulty hearing impaired students are facing since the TRAI rule came into effect.
TRAI's direction to access providers that they shall not permit sending of more than one hundred SMS per day came into effect from 27th September, but the list of those affected by it is growing day by day.