The "aam aadmi" of India and Pakistan is not really interested in the politics, but wants to carry on with life on a day-to-day basis
Pakistani foreign office spokesperson, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhury said, India and Pakistan need to address the mistrust that exists between them, responding to prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh's statement that Pakistan cannot win a war against India in his life time!
Every two years, the Pakistani army's general headquarters at Rawalpindi publishes the "green book" which provides a rare insight into the organisation’s internal debates. In this, it is reported, that Pakistani Major General Shaukat Iqbal has stated that the deepening Indo-USA relationship could pose a serious threat to the integrity of Pakistan.
The man on the street, now popularly known as the "aam aadmi", on both sides of the border, is not really interested in the politics played but wants to carry on his life on a day-to-day basis. Truly, he is a pawn whose moves are decided by the politicans in power.
In the meanwhile, Shabhaz Sharif, who is actually the brother of Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, chief minister of Punjab province, has called for early resumption of peace talks between India and Pakistan.
Talks on normalisation procedure between India and Pakistan, between Anand Sharma, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister with Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister of State for Commerce began with a view to cover trade of more items through Wagah border, opening of bank branches, commencement of electricity supplies, and so on, continued, in the presence of Shabhaz Sharif. This is expected to continue during the ensuing meeting when the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) group gathers soon.
On his part, Anand Sharma has shown his keen desire to give enhanced preferential treatment to Pakistani products by bringing down its sensitive list under South Asia Free Trade Agreement. This will bring down the import tariff for all items for Pakistan, except for about 100 items.
Although India and Pakistan have reiterated the urgent and imperative need to work seriously on the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline that would bring in the much needed gas from Iran, and also supply at competitive rates to Pakistan, work has not been satisfactory. Iran has completed almost 900 km of the pipeline under its control, while hardly any progress has been made on the Pakistani side.
In a similar fashion, the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India
(TAPI) pipeline has also not made much progress, despite the keen interest and support that USA has given. Yet, with the recent developments that have taken place as a sequel to the nuclear deal with Iran, USA may soften its stand, but one never knows until the mandatory six month period is over and Iran keeps its bargain.
All said and done, it is time that both the prime ministers of India and
Pakistan sit together to at least have preliminary discussions on what is to be done. Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh must reiterate that cross-border ISI-sponsored terror outfits must stop intrusions into the country; no longer should India tolerate these so-called "jehadi" outfits or freedom fighters attacking civilians. Any new attempts at intrusion should be dealt with firmly by the armed forces.
So far, in all these discussions that have been going on for years now, there are no reports, ever, that the question of counterfeit currency (manufactured with Pakistani support and smuggled into the country) has been raised at any level. If this is to be considered as the "Most Favoured Nation" status for India in printing this fake currency, this must stop forthwith, and the Pakistani counterpart must ensure this does not recur.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
Nifty may head higher if today’s low holds and closes above 6,210
Monday was the fifth consecutive session when the indices closed in the negative but the market recorded the lowest fall, giving some hope to the bulls. The benchmark moved in the narrow range on both the sides of previous week’s close. We expect the market to head higher as a short-covering rally.
The Sensex opened at 20,714 while the Nifty opened at 6,168. The benchmark immediately hit its day high and started its down ward journey. The Sensex moved down to the level of 20,638 after hitting the high of 20,765 and closed at 20,660 (down 56 points or 0.27%) while the Nifty hit the low of 6,146 after reaching upto 6,183 and closed at 6,155 (down 14 points or 0.22%). Today the indices hit their lowest levels since 29 November 2013. The NSE recorded a volume of 54.22 crore shares.
Among the other indices on the NSE, the top five gainers were IT (1.70%); MNC (1.67%); Nifty Junior (1.01%); Midcap 50 (0.57%) and Media (0.57%) while the top five losers were Energy (1.15%); FMCG (0.73%); PSU Bank (0.64%); Auto (0.57%) and Commodities (0.40%).
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 20 ended in the green. The top five gainers were Sesa Sterlite (4.09%); Infosys (2.29%); Power Grid (1.74%); Tata Power (1.61%) and Coal India (1.38%). While the top five losers were M&M (2.89%); Jindal Steel (2.85%); Sun Pharma (2.48%); Reliance Industries (2.28%) and Bharti Airtel (2.23%).
Of the 1,210 stocks on the NSE, 475 closed in the positive, 674 closed in the negative while 61 remained unchanged.
Inflation based on the WPI accelerated to 7.52% in November 2013, from 7% in October 2013, data released by the government today. WPI for September 2013 was revised upwards to 7.05% from 6.46% reported earlier. Except for NZSE 50 (up 0.39%) all the other Asian indices closed in the negative. Nikkei 225 (fell 1.62%) was the top loser.
Chinese manufacturing index fell to a three-month low, the initial results from HSBC's monthly survey showed today. HSBC/Markit China manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index eased to 50.5, down from November's final reading of 50.8. Shanghai Composite was the second top most loser among the Asian indices fell 1.60%.
However, European indices were trading very strong. The latest data showed that Markit's German preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers' index strengthened in December. The German economy is ending 2013 positively, according to a survey released Monday, with new business, confidence and employment all growing in December. Markit's preliminary composite purchasing manager’s index was little changed in December, slipping marginally to 55.2 from 55.4 in November.
The French composite PMI fell to a seven-month low of 47.0 and signaled a steady contraction in activity.
Markit's Flash Eurozone Composite purchasing managers' index, which gauges business activity across thousands of companies large and small, rose to 52.1 in December from 51.7 last month. Growth in new orders rose the most since June 2011, while the manufacturing PMI rose to 54.8 from 53.1, the highest in nearly three years. US Futures were trading strongly in the positive.
Companies employing likes of Phaneesh Murthy and Tarun Tejpal will have to shell out higher premium for directors and officers insurance. Past record of mismanagement or harassment by the key personnel will hike the premium
Sexual harassment cases involving Phaneesh Murthy, Tehelka’s Tarun Tejpal and former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly have highlighted the need for corporates to buy Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance to cover several business risks and liabilities. The annual growth of D&O insurance in India is at a spectacular 30% to 40%. While the chances of litigation are definitely higher in the US than in India, exposure to scams, hefty legal fees charged by senior advocates and global practices is an impetus for buying insurance rather than taking the risk of having to defend a possibly frivolous lawsuit claiming crores in damages. Some D&O policies may be silent about covering lawsuits due to sexual harassment and hence buyers need to be aware of it. Each policy is usually tailored for the respective clients and hence the clause can be added.
Register and attend upcoming (18th December) Moneylife Foundation seminar in Mumbai - SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT THE WORKPLACE
What D&O covers and reasons for increase in significance? Satyam scam was a wake-up call for companies. Corporate liability is not just related to sexual harassment, but includes wider aspects like Mis-statement in prospectus, Inaccurate statement of financial conditions, Errors in annual accounts, Conflict of interest, Lack of judgment, diligence, good faith, Mismanagement of funds, Unfair allotment of shares, Using insider information, Unwarranted dividend, salary, compensation payments, Unfair dismissal of an employee and so on. All these are cases for D&O cover.
According to Sushant Sarin, Sr VP - Commercial Line, TATA AIG General Insurance, “Directors and officers take out D&O insurance to protect themselves against a multitude of wrongful act, error or omission allegations against them in the course of their official duties. Sexual harassment allegations are no doubt covered but represent only one of multiple types of allegations. In our experience, D&O insurance is fast becoming recognized by Company managements as a policy they must have to secure themselves against personal liability for managerial acts. That this policy also responds to allegations of sexual harassment makes it that much more important as a risk management tool in addition to setting up Vishakha committees etc.”
There is a new reason to consider buying D&O insurance – new Companies Bill 2013. According to Dr Amarnath Ananthanarayanan, CEO and MD, Bharti AXA General Insurance, “New Companies Bill, 2013 has also created a conducive environment for selling D&O insurance in India - a lot of new measures have been taken to bring more clarity; for example, for the first time duties of directors have been defined in this bill, the concept of class action suits has been introduced, the definition of officer-in-default has been widened, restriction on the companies to indemnify its directors has been removed. In view of the above, in my opinion the D&O business is expected to grow significantly say by 60-70%.”
Sanjay Datta, Chief – Underwriting and Claims, ICICI Lombard, says, “There has been an increase in interest in the D&O cover across the board both because of the recent high profile cases and also because of New Company’s Act. There is a lot of interest from customers on how the policy deals with these situations. We have written over 500 policies so far this year and have seen about a 30% increase in D&O business.”
D&O premium as per key personnel profile Sushant Sarin, says, “Corporate governance standards followed by companies are a factor in pricing the insurance cover. It is a norm to cover all directors and officers of a company rather than only some.” According to Dr Amarnath, “Director’s profile is an important factor while underwriting D&O policy. However, the underwriting philosophy may vary from one insurer to the other in terms of acceptance of risk.”
Sanjay Datta, says, “Though the policy covers not only the board of the company, we do look at the profile of the board and the important executives of the company. We are more cautious about underwriting risks where any of the key personnel have a past record of mismanagement or harassment. For a basic cover, a $1 million policy would cost about $2,000.”
What D&O won’t cover? Tata AIG view – “Under law, any contract that is against public policy is void. Accordingly, since it would be against public policy to cover fraud, an insurance contract cannot do so. However, this rule applies only if and when fraud has been established. Merely an allegation of fraud does not suffice to void a contract. When faced with an allegation of fraud, a director or officer will want to defend him/her against such allegation. For this, s/he would want to use the services of a capable lawyer which would mean considerable expense. The D&O policy pays such defense expenses incurred by directors and officers. If capable defense helps them establish their innocence the policy has served its purpose.”
Bharti AXA – “Any fraudulent act or omission or any wilful violation is excluded from the scope of D&O policy. The D&O cover usually provides for defence cost unless specifically excluded under the policy.” ICICI Lombard – “The D&O policy covers defence costs incurred by or on behalf of directors and officers in defending allegations of fraud. But the cover in the policy ceases in case the director has been convicted for or if he confesses to criminal acts including fraud.”