Travel applications, highly popular in the West, are now gaining traction in India
According to the report filed by Italian investigators in an Italian court, the middlemen had agreed for a 7.5% commission in the Rs3,600 crore for 12 VVIP helicopters. Finally, the kickbacks were around Rs362 crore
The Italy government-owned AgustaWestland had allegedly kept aside Rs217 crore as part of ‘corrupt activity’ to bag India’s Rs3,600 crore deal and its choppers became eligible only after certain required parameters were altered in the tender document.
According to the report filed by Italian investigators in an Italian court, the middlemen had agreed for a 7.5% commission in the Rs3,600 crore for 12 VVIP helicopters. Finally, the kickbacks were around Rs362 crore.
The payment of bribes through contracts between firms registered in Tunisia and India, was “still underway” when the scam was unearthed.
The report said CEO of Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi and AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini had paid 30 million euros (Rs217 crore) to one of the main middlemen Christian Michel.
The arrested CEOs of the two companies had also “paid Guido Ralph Hashcke and Carlo Gerosa (two other alleged middlemen), through a consultancy contract between AW Spa and Gordian Services Sarl an amount of 400,000 euros (about Rs2.8 crore), of which 100,000 euros (Rs72 lakh) were paid cash to the Tyagi brothers (Julie, Docsa and Sandeep).”
The report suggests that the middlemen had close contacts with the family of former IAF Chief Air Chief marshal SP Tyagi, particularly his three cousins.
One middlemen named ‘ADR’ has claimed in his interrogation that the first meeting of one of the middlemen Zappa with Tyagi happened at the time when the tender was in the Request for Information (RFI) phase.
The middleman reportedly claimed he had paid around Rs72 lakh to the three cousins of ACM Tyagi. They alleged that Tyagi used to brief them about the developments in the tender during their meetings, according to the report of the Italian investigators.
The report said “Haschke and Gerosa, through the Tyagi brothers, in turn through their cousin ACM SP Tyagi, managed first to change the tender details, in a way to favour, modifying the 'operational ceiling' from 18,000 to 15,000 feet of altitude, thus allowing AgustaWestland Spa (which otherwise could not have even submitted an offer) to take part in the tender.”
After the arrest of Orsi and Spagnolini in Italy, India has put on hold the delivery of three AW-101 choppers to be delivered in March along with the remaining six.
The payment for the choppers has also been stopped and defence ministry has stated that because of the integrity pact, it can get back all the money paid by it for the deal.
A new sub-group carved out within Association of Medical Consultants hopes to achieve uniformity in the common operating practices as well as bring more nursing homes in the cashless network
The Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) aims to address the needs of the insurance sector and nursing homes by creating a group called Network of AMC Hospitals (NoAH). Out of the 1,500 nursing homes within the AMC fold, 217 have agreed to be part of AMC NoAH. This number is expected to grow to 300 by March 2013. These nursing homes will offer common billing format, common cashless authorisation format and display of key hospital tariffs.
One of the major issues for customers of medical services is the lack of transparency in the charges by nursing homes and hospitals as well as possible differential pricing if the customer is insured. AMC NoAH nursing homes will display the key tariff charges at the reception of the hospital for information of the patients. These charges would be levied across the board and shall not vary for insurance or non-insurance patients.
At the Bombay High Court hearing (12 February 2013) of the public interest litigation filed by social activist Gaurang Damani, the AMC was able to come up with indicative rates for 42 standard ailments with disclaimers about the rates excluding professional fees and surgeon fees, which may vary. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (IRDA) legal representative agreed to review the documentation of rates prepared by the AMC.
AMC NoAH has tied up with Bajaj Allianz to offer its policyholders cashless facility in all member nursing homes. It will also offer 7.5% discount on the bill to the insured. Star Health and other insurance companies may tie-up with AMC NoAH. The progress to bring more nursing homes to be part of government insurance companies’ preferred provider network (PPN) has been at a snail’s pace. Even New India Assurance’s general manager who attended Moneylife Foundation’s recent mediclaim seminar agreed that progress is slow in Mumbai and Bangalore. Whether AMC NoAH can resolve the standoff between government insurers/TPAs (third party administrators) and nursing homes can only be known in future.
Another benefit for consumers will be that the AMC NoAH nursing homes will need compulsory accreditation from the group and hence standards will improve. The levels will be minimum, optimum and excellent. Currently, the accreditation is optional for AMC members. It is obvious that some AMC member nursing homes may not want to be part of self regulated group (AMC NoAH).
Consumers may ask what may be the possible reason for AMC NoAH to offer pro-customer initiatives. It could be the growing tendency for mediclaim policyholders and the rich class to utilize corporate (high-end) hospitals for simple fever, surgery of hernia/hydrocele/appendicitis that can be easily managed in a nursing home having two to 75 beds facility. AMC NoAH wishes to correct this anomaly. As per one AMC NoAH official, “There is excellent quality of doctors at small nursing homes.”
On 28 January 2013, The Times of India carried an article on Mumbai’s nursing homes shutting shop. It quotes a doctor who shut his nursing home stating “Nursing homes are no longer sought after due to the popularity of insurance. People want to go to hospitals that are generally better equipped.” With value-added services, transparency and uniformity in procedures, AMC NoAH may be taking the steps to reverse this trend which could be bleeding its business.