The apex court dismissed the company’s plea for lifting the 7-year ban from accessing the market, which was imposed by SEBI last November following irregularities in the company's IPO in 2006
The Supreme Court (SC) today dismissed a petition by Madras-based entertainment company, Pyramid Saimira, challenging a seven-year trading ban imposed on it by market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), reports PTI.
The bench, headed by chief justice S H Kapadia, dismissed the petition filed by the company, PS Theatre, requesting the court to lift the seven-year ban from accessing the market, which was imposed by SEBI last November following irregularities in the company's initial public offering (IPO) in 2006.
"We do not want such firms to continue... in the matter of fraud, we do not do anything," the bench said while declining the company's plea.
The company had challenged the order of the securities appellate tribunal, which had on 10 November, 2009, upheld the SEBI order.
The pension regulator has suddenly initiated a consultation process with market participants for the formation of new administrative guidelines for the New Pension Scheme. Does it set the stage for a makeover of the NPS?
After the mutual fund and insurance regulators have done their bit for investors, is it now time for the pension regulator to leave its mark? The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) which got a new chairman in Yogesh Agarwal (former chairman of IDBI), on 7th June, has invited comments from various market participants and the public at large on the first draft of administrative guidelines proposed to be issued for the New Pension Scheme (NPS). These include guidelines for the Central Recordkeeping Agency, Custodian and Depository Participant, fees and charges, New Pension System Trust, Points of Presence and the Subscribers Education and Protection Fund. The guidelines would be further reviewed in light of the comments received and any other developments.
Commenting on the purpose for bringing out new guidelines, a PFRDA official said, "We want to know what we have missed out in the past and enhance the scope of the scheme in terms of regulation. We wish to provide sufficient opportunity to the public to participate in this process. We expect to benefit from the comments received from various market participants in this regard. Once this is completed, it will offer guidance to the participants."
Rani Nair, executive director of PFRDA said, "We have invited comments to see whether there is anything which has not been covered yet. As we are moving on, we are bringing various value-plus services for our customers. This is a part of such services. We are putting in place some legally enforceable guidelines for various market intermediaries to ensure that customers are protected and not misled. Customers will be made aware of the responsibilities of different intermediaries, once the guidelines are in place." Asked whether any major policy shifts are being planned, she said that the basic architecture for the NPS would remain the same.
NPS allows one to save regularly in a scheme until the age of 60. The scheme mixes investment in safe debt and equity stocks (of Sensex and Nifty) in different proportions. However, NPS has so far received a very poor response from the general public. There is nobody to explain and sell the scheme, since there is no commission involved in selling it.
The PFRDA may not be willing to admit it, but some sweeping changes seem to be on the cards for the nascent pension scheme. Pension fund managers (PFMs) have sought major changes in the fee structure. According to a media report, in a recent meeting with the PFRDA chairman, the PFMs complained that the low management fees (0.0009% of assets under management) are not healthy for the system. It is another matter that the PFMs themselves bid for these prices and are now crying wolf.
The new chairman seems willing to look at the NPS afresh. He is on a drive to collect feedback from the participants so as to make NPS more popular. After mutual funds and Unit-linked Insurance Plans, now NPS may undergo significant change. Only, it will be in the opposite direction. While the stock market regulator has cut down on upfront commissions as incentive for mutual funds and the insurance regulator has made ULIPs cheaper by reducing incentives, PFRDA would want to do the opposite - add a bit of incentive to make NPS work.
Patients who were hoping to see the deadlock between hospitals and insurers along with TPAs be resolved will have to wait longer, as medical consultants and hospitals alike are not agreeing with their terms
Patients who were hoping that the war between insurance companies, hospitals and Third Party Administrators (TPAs) would end soon are in for disappointment, especially if they have cashless insurance. While patients suffer, the insurance regulator has remained silent.
Meanwhile, medical consultants and smaller hospitals that were also targeted by insurance companies to reduce costs are unwilling to do so. They charge TPAs and insurers of delaying payments. Rajeev Walwakar, president - Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) said, “They (insurance companies) have said that they will not discuss charges with us. So, even we have decided not to be a part of their meetings as they don’t want to listen to us.”
Medical consultants who have signed agreements with insurers, assuring them of payment within 30 days, say that they don't receive their money for two to three months and sometimes not at all. Hospitals also complain that TPAs take 90 days to settle bills, have to be pursued for payments and often do not pay the full amount. Some hospitals claim that they charge more to patients with insurance, because of these delays.
“How can you ask us to lower charges? Consumers need to get the best possible medical facility but that doesn’t mean that healthcare providers’ payments be overlooked,” added Mr Walwakar.
“If the fixed charges are low, it would be very difficult for healthcare providers to provide quality services and treatment,” said Lalit Kapoor, a member of the AMC. Some doctors even allege that TPAs collect payments from insurers and enjoy the float, while delaying payments to hospitals and consultants. In March, around 1,500 nursing homes and doctors under the banner of the AMC decided to boycott TPAs completely. This drastic measure meant that patients in hospitals covered by these TPAs could not avail of cashless facilities, putting them under severe financial strain.
But this is just one side of the story and not entirely true. It is a fact that most hospitals hike tariffs for anyone who has insurance. There are innumerable anecdotes where patients have been able to get hospitals to reduce their charges by almost 50% by claiming they had no insurance. However, in most cases, patients covered by corporate insurance policies couldn’t care less about hospital charges. Consequently, healthcare costs have been galloping in India, especially in the major metros.
Insurance companies also dismiss claims that TPAs are the cause of delay or are enjoying a float. They point out that unnecessary tests and absurd charges by hospitals have made insurance unviable and insurance companies are forced to examine claims with a fine tooth-comb. Ironically, insurers say that although TPAs are not to be blamed, they aren't of much help either, so they are doing away with their services. “TPAs are getting slapped from both sides,” a private insurer who has done away with TPAs said.
Sanjay Datta, head of ICICI Lombard’s health insurance vertical, has been quoted as saying that the insurance companies have decided to restore cashless facilities on a case-to-case basis. It is unclear whether this applies to patients or hospitals. Also, this is no solution for consumers who are paying an insurance premium in the expectation that it will act as a safety net in their time of need. There is now an attempt to initiate a dialogue between insurance companies and other stakeholders. It is important that insurance for healthcare remains a viable business for insurers. This can only happen if hospitals agree to rein in soaring costs, cut out the practice of ordering needless tests and procedures and rework tariff systems to make them more equitable. However, the shortage of high quality medical facilities allows hospitals to call the shots. And until there is better infrastructure available, patients will be the victims of the tussle between hospitals and insurers – if the government does not step in, health insurance costs in India will soon become unaffordable without any improvement in quality of services or better facilities.