Uniform rate for cashless treatment within week: New India CMD

New Delhi: Public sector insurance companies and large hospitals will finalise a uniform rate structure for cashless treatment scheme within a week, reports PTI quoting a chairman of a state-owned insurer.

"Within a week we will be able to arrive at the package rates of the big corporate hospitals. (They) have given us their own rates (and) based on that we will arrive on a uniform rate structure," chairman of New India Assurance Company M Ramadoss told reporters here today on the sidelines of a CII Health Summit.

He further said that more hospitals would be added to the cashless treatment network once the insurers and hospitals finalise package rates for treatment under the cashless scheme.

While major hospitals have submitted their rates, Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Hospitals are yet to come up with their packages, he added.

"There should be standardisation of rates for all hospitals that will bring in more transparency in the system", Medicity chairman and managing director Naresh Trehan said.

He further added that the occupancy rate at hospitals have not gone down since the withdrawal of cashless treatment facility by public sector insurance companies on July 1, "but "it is the patients who are suffering."

The cashless medical facility was suspended by four PSU insurers - New India Assurance, United India Insurance, National Insurance and Oriental Insurance - from 1st July after they alleged over-billing by certain private hospitals.

The insurance companies and hospitals are trying to resolve their differences over the issue of billing and have standard rates for treatment and hospitalisation.

Public sector insurance companies had to resort to rationalisation of rates for cashless facilities as they reportedly suffered a loss of Rs2,000 crore because of overcharging by hospitals in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.


Govt proposes relaxing FDI rules governing JVs

New Delhi: Proposing a major relaxation in a 12-year foreign direct investment (FDI) rule, the industry ministry today made a case for allowing foreign investors to bring in fresh money and technology to India irrespective of the impact on local partners in any existing joint venture (JV), reports PTI.

Under the present dispensation, a foreign player who entered India before 12 January, 2005 has to take government approval and "demonstrate" that fresh investment in the same field would not affect interest of his domestic joint venture partner.

The FDI rules proposed to be relaxed was not applicable to the joint ventures entered after 12 January, 2005. Thus, the changes would help foreign investors who entered JVs after this date.

Suggesting abolition of this rule, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said in a discussion paper, "There is a need to examine whether such conditionality continues to be relevant in the present day context." It has invited comments from the stakeholders till 15th October.

It said that in an era of globalisation, where a number of free trade agreements are in place, the domestic industry has to increasingly become more competitive.

"Competition today is not only between domestic players inter-se but also between international and domestic players.

If an industry is discouraged from being set up in India, it could be set up in a neighbouring country, with whom a trade agreement exists or is being negotiated," it said.

In the last one year, India has entered into market-opening trade pacts with ASEAN and South Korea. Besides, it is also a leading member of SAARC pact comprising nations of Indian sub-continent.

The discussion paper also mooted that whether the government policy should intervene in the commercial sphere and override contractual terms agreed to between the parties, given the need to promote healthy competition and ensure sustained long-term economic growth.

"It can be argued that the government should not be concerned about commercial issues between two business partners," it said.

The concept paper said that the existing measure discriminates between the foreign investors who had shown confidence in India, by investing in the country prior to 2005, and those who invested later.

"The condition may be restricting a number of investors, who may not be able to reach agreement with their Indian partners on their future investment plans, thereby restricting the inflow of foreign capital and technology into the country," it said.


Govt limits number of commodity bourses at eight

New Delhi: The government has decided to cap the number of national commodity exchanges at eight to foster sustained growth of the commodity futures market, reports PTI.

"The consumer affairs ministry in consultation with the sector regulator Forward Markets Commission (FMC) has decided to allow only eight commodity exchanges to function at the national level," a senior official told PTI.

At present, four national exchanges - MCX, NCDEX, NMCE and ICEX are operating at national level, while the rest two - Ahmedabad Commodity Exchange (ACE) and the Universal Commodity Exchange (UCE) are yet to be launched.

Recently, Gontermann Peipers (India), promoted by Pramod Mittal of the Ispat group, has placed an application with FMC for setting up a national commodity exchange.

The consumer affairs ministry frames policies for commodity futures market, while the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) regulates the functioning of four national and 19 regional exchanges.

"If UCE and Gontermann get permission from FMC, then there would be a total of seven national commodity exchanges in the country," the official said, noting that the number of national commodity bourses are higher as compared to three stock exchanges in the securities market.

Though there is no such cap for stock exchanges in the equity market, the regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has permitted only NSE, BSE and MCX-SX to function at the national level, the official said.

Meanwhile, an FMC official said: "It was felt that the mushrooming of national commodity exchanges would not be a good sign as quality growth was more necessary than just having a mere number of exchanges."

So, it was necessary to put a cap as there was rush of applications to set up a national commodity exchanges in the last few months, the official said.

The official further said that the ministry has also decided to set up a committee to review the performance of the existing national commodity exchanges.

According to FMC, the turnover of 23 commodity exchanges was a record Rs 70 lakh crore in 2009 and is expected to rise further by 15% to Rs 80 lakh crore this year-end.


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