According to IRDA, the total (public and private) number of insurance policies that lapsed during FY 2010-11 stood at 1.40 crore, with an assured sum of Rs1.58 lakh crore compared to 1.23 crore policies with an assured sum of Rs2.14 crore in FY09-10
New Delhi: The total number of insurance policies that lapsed in the public and the private sector rose to 1.40 crore during 2010-11 from 1.23 crore in the previous fiscal, reports PTI.
According to the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA), the total (public and private) number of insurance policies that lapsed during FY 2010-11 stood at 1.40 crore, with an assured sum of Rs1.58 lakh crore.
This was against 1.23 crore policies with an assured sum of Rs2.14 crore in FY09-10, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
He added that the total number of policies sold in FY10-11 stood at 1.10 crore and there were 2,189 complaints of mis-selling registered with IRDA during the period.
On measures taken by the insurance sector watchdog to ensure a healthy insurance market in the country, he said: “IRDA has mandated insurance companies to put in place an efficient system of grievance redressal and establishment of IRDA Grievance Call Centre (IGCC) and Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS)...”
“The Authority on 20 September 2011 notified guidelines on persistency of policies i.e. percentage of policies in continuity to the total number of policies.
“As per these guidelines, agents are required to maintain an average persistency rate of 50%. The licence of the agent is renewed only if this condition is met,” Mr Mukherjee added.
Net equity inflow for the month of November was Rs-52 crore. The Sensex is down 17% since last November and investors prefer to pull out their money. New Fund Offers (NFOs) have not helped much either
After three consecutive months of positive inflows, equity mutual funds witness a net outflow of Rs52 crore, according to AMFI data. Equity inflows for the months August to October 2011 totalled Rs3,636 crore. In August 2011, equity mutual funds had seen a jump in inflows after two consecutive months of negative inflows. The inflow of Rs1,986 crore in August was the highest net inflow reported in a month since February 2011 and the second highest since July 2009. However, the inflows could not be sustained for long. Inflows have followed a declining trend since then.
NFOs (new fund offers) haven’t brought in much, as well. The two NFOs launched in the month of November 2011—Tata Retirement Savings Fund-Moderate Plan and Tata Retirement Savings Fund-Progressive Plan, could pull in just Rs10 crore of investment. Whereas the last two NFOs prior to this—Peerless Equity Fund and Edelweiss Select Midcap Fund—pulled in Rs24 crore, and Rs6 crore, respectively. A rather poor performance compared to Union KBC Equity Fund which got Rs167 crore of investments in June 2011.
The past year (December 2010 to November 2011) saw just 13 NFOs being launched with a total inflow of Rs902 crore whereas the year prior saw 20 NFOs being launched bringing in Rs4,369 crore. Not only has the number of NFOs fallen, the average inflow per NFO has fallen from Rs218 crore to Rs69 crore, a drop of 68% for the same period. This is quite surprising as for the period December 2010 to November 2011, equity mutual funds had an net inflow of Rs8,156 crore compared to the same period the year previous which had a net outflow of Rs18,877 crore. The fall in the market over the past year probably did not seem like an attractive period for investors put their money in NFOs—or probably NFOs were not attractive enough for them.
November 2010, when the market was at its peak, saw and outflow of Rs103 crore, which was considerably less compared to the huge outflows seen in the month prior to it. A year later, when the Sensex is down 17%, investors somehow do not feel it is the right time to invest.
This is probably the psyche of investors, the market probably seems too volatile and lacks proper direction and thus may not seem a proper time for them to invest. They would rather keep their money in banks when inflation is soaring. Equity is the key to long-term wealth creation and investing systematically is the answer to overcome the volatility in the market. Investors lack proper guidance and need hand-holding every step of the way. This is something which is still yet to be addressed by the regulator. The so called financial advisors are there only as long as they get investments from the client. In times of disputes, advisors are nowhere to be seen. Except for a certain few, who value their customers.
Fake identities were created in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) computer server to generate forged birth certificates in order to apply for a Slum Rehabilitation scheme. Such crime puts national security at stake if secure databases are compromised. Strangely, the PMC has initiated no action
A massive forged birth certificate fraud at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) was revealed through a Right to Information Act (RTI) inquiry filed by the noted Pune activist, Vijay Kumbhar. Consider this:
The above information pertains to 12 names shown as beneficiaries of the Government of Maharashtra’s ambitious but controversial slum rehabilitation scheme that is being haphazardly and dubiously implemented in major cities, particularly Mumbai and Pune. In Mumbai, Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi who was then a RTI activist had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) way back in 2006 on the basis of 89 complaints lodged by citizens with the Anti-Corruption Bureau about crimes such as forgery, cheating, bogus documents, fake tenancies, threats and coercion in obtaining signatures and vacating slum dwellers in different Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) schemes. There were charges of corruption and collusion against various Government officials of the SRA as well as the collectors’ office and municipal officials. The ACB expressed its inability to deal with the issue due to lack of manpower while the state government concluded that Mr Gandhi was exaggerating and then instituted a tame inquiry by a retired IAS officer. Subsequently the Nagrik Chetna Manch filed a PIL but it has not been admitted to date. So much for the seriousness of addressing large scale corruption—no wonder the country is clamouring for a strong Lokpal Bill.
In this case, the SRA scheme pertains to a locality in Pune called Mangalwar Peth, but probably reflects the manner in which schemes meant for the upliftment slum dwellers are hijacked by ‘fraudulent’ beneficiaries. It also highlights political-bureaucratic-builder/developer nexus wherein more beneficiaries are allegedly added in order that the developer gets more building space and in turn, more FSI. For more information on Maharashtra’s Slum Rehabilitation scheme, you may visit www.sra.gov.in
In the case of the Mangalwar Peth slum rehabilitation scheme, the issue is far more dangerous. Very clearly, it shows that secure government databases have poor security and any hacker or an outsider in connivance with a municipal corporation employee can enter his name in the computerized birth record register and claim to be a citizen. He could, for all you know, be a terrorist or an illegal immigrant. Imagine how much worse it will be when these databases contain biometric information such as Iris scans and fingerprints as well!
Strangely, the PMC Commissioner Mahesh Pathak has not found it fit to initiate severe action against the Birth & Death Registration officers; instead, he delayed ordering an inquiry even after the forgery was established. RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar’s inquiry has revealed that out of the 180 beneficiaries of the Mangalwar Peth slum rehabilitation scheme, a shocking 80 names do not qualify as they do not fit into the 12 proofs required to be a beneficiary. Mr Kumbhar says, “If you do the numbers, each of these 80 fake beneficiaries would receive 350 sq ft dwelling, which amounts to 28,000 sq ft given as TDR to the developer. This is perhaps just the tip of the iceberg of how such schemes are being used for the benefit of the entrepreneurs in the building industry in connivance with top officials of the PMC.’’
That’s not all. In an official complaint to Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak, Mr Kumbhar states, “On November 28, I had sent you proofs procured from RTI of fake beneficiaries of the slum rehabilitation scheme of Mangalwar Peth but you have not taken action despite the fact that such tampering in your computer records can lead to breach of national security as anyone can become a ‘legal’ citizen of Pune and therefore India. The documents reveal serious irregularities in the working of the department. Yet no action is being taken by you.’’
It all began four months back, when a genuine beneficiary of the Slum Rehabilitation scheme in Mangalwar Peth filed a RTI application, asking for a list of 12 beneficiaries with copies of their identity proofs. After he got a reply, he approached Mr Kumbhar for advice. Shocked with the details, Mr Kumbhar filed an official complaint with the municipal commissioner and requested him to conduct an inquiry. After much delay, Mr Pathak instituted an inquiry which showed that the PMC’s computer sever had been tampered with.
Mr Kumbhar then made another complaint to the municipal commissioner requesting him to file a case with the police against those involved in the fraud. Again, he dilly-dallied. Finally, Additional Registrar Aparna Basalkar has lodged a police complaint with the Faraskhana police against seven slum dwellers under Sections 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Period. Police, too, has not thought it fit to sternly pursue the case!
Not surprising, as slum rehabilitation schemes under Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) in Maharashtra have termed as “nothing short of organised crimes.’’
A PIL filed in 2006 in regard of slum rehabilitation frauds of large proportions in Mumbai shows the huge scandal thriving unabashedly even today. Excerpts from the PIL originally filed by Shailesh Gandhi will give you the horrific reality:
““That the petitioner is concerned with what appears to be a major and organized crime being reported to the police, with no chance of any charges being framed, since no investigations are being done in them. When a large number of criminal actions are reported and no investigation is done, it would be a clear signal that crimes will not be punished when the government so desires. In such a situation the rule of Law, is increasingly subverted, and has no chance of being enforced.
The main facts that emerged from the papers mainly obtained from the government using Right to Information were as follows:
a) At the end of October 2006 the ACB had 89 complaints about crimes such as forgery, cheating, bogus documents, fake tenancies, threats and coercion in taking signatures and vacating slum dwellers in different SRA schemes. There were charges of corruption and collusion against various Government officials from SRA, collectors’ office and municipal officials.
b) The ACB wrote that they would only be able to investigate three complaints where the Court had issued specific directions. They have also confirmed that evidence regarding criminal acts had been unearthed in these cases. The question is, if criminality is evident in just three cases, statistically, the probability of significant evidence of criminality being exposed in 89 other cases is very high. I quote from the ACB’s letter to me (Exhibit C page 22): "The offences are of criminal misconduct under prevention of Corruption Act, along with IPC offences done by government officials and investigation is largely based on documents. The collection of documents, to prove these offences, is voluminous in nature and also a very large number of witnesses need to be examined and thus a stipulated period cannot be given for completion of investigation in these offences.
A proposal to the ACS home, Government of Maharashtra, has been sent to form a special cell for investigation of cases”.
c) The letter from the director general of ACB, Maharashtra written on 21 September, 2006, mentions that at that time 26 complaints had been received by ACB. It further states, "In view of the seriousness of this newly visible scam, it is recommended that Government may consider setting up of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) for undertaking a comprehensive investigation into all corruption charges pertaining to the SRA schemes.
“It is recommended that the proposed SIT should have a strength of 10 investigating officers of the rank of PIs and ACPs with sufficient constabulary to assist these officers. It is also recommended that in view of the extent of this incipient scam, the SIT should be headed by an officer of the rank of DIG or IG assisted by two officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police as supervisory officers.” When 26 complaints were received, the head of the ACB in Maharashtra felt the need for a SIT of 12 officers to investigate the matter. The government made no move to support this and stymied the investigation.
d) In a letter which reveals the government’s intent the deputy secretary, housing wrote to the CEO of SRA on 15th November (Exhibit K-page 47) “Information which has been ordered by the Hon. Special Court to be given should be given to the Additional Commissioner, ACB, Mumbai. The administration has decided that there is no need to give the information of the other matters to the ACB.”
e) Thus, there was a clear design and method to the government's approach in this matter by denying information to the ACB and ensuring that no resources were available for investigating a very large number of criminal complaints. After all, we know that delay in investigation allows wrongdoers the time to bribe or threaten complainants with the help of organized underworld thugs.
This suggests collusion and a conspiracy to ensure that criminal acts though reported to law enforcing agencies, and reported widely go unpunished. Given the letter of the deputy secretary, housing, mentioned earlier, citizens would have to increasingly approach courts to keep alive the hope of corrective action; in the process the judiciary will end up performing the job of the police who have been rendered helpless.
Disturbed by these facts and the all the circumstantial evidence, I filed my PIL, asking for specific relief. My main prayers needed to be addressed urgently, if they were to have any effect. The prayers were:
a) This Hon'ble Court be pleased to issue a writ of mandamus or a writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, commanding the respondents to set up a Special Investigation Team.
b)That the Hon'ble Court be pleased to direct the government that the SIT be furnished with adequate staff to specially probe the very large fraud in the SRA schemes.
c)That this Hon'ble Court be pleased to direct that the SIT be charged with completing the investigations into the SRA schemes where there are complaints or reported irregularities, within a time-bound program., and reporting the progress and results to the court.
d)That this Hon'ble Court be pleased to direct that until the final disposal of this petition no third party interests in the SRA schemes should allowed to be created.
e)That this Hon'ble Court be pleased to grant interim reliefs in terms of prayer clauses (a), (b), (c) & (d) above.’”
Till date no SIT has been set up. The scandal now spreads to other cities having SRA schemes.
(Vinita Deshmukh is a senior editor, author and convener of Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected])