Wipro Infotech completes Rs1,182 crore e-governance project

The Panchdeep project aims at improving the healthcare services provided to ESIC’s customers through online facilities to employers and insured people for registration, payment of premiums and disbursement of cash benefits.

Wipro Infotech, IT arm of Wipro, has successfully completed the digitisation of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation’s (ESIC) operations, one of the biggest e-governance projects in the country. Wipro Infotech had bagged the Rs1,182 crore six-and-a-half-year project ‘Panchdeep’ in March 2009.

“We are honoured to have been part of ESIC’s initiative in taking quality healthcare to the masses,” Wipro senior vice-president and business head, India, Middle East and Africa, Anand Sankaran said at an ESIC function.

The Panchdeep project aims at improving the healthcare services provided to ESIC’s customers through online facilities to employers and insured people for registration, payment of premiums and disbursement of cash benefits.

Under the project, Wipro has set up a unified information system automating all internal and external processes of ESIC. Apart from installing hardware, Wipro has also provided specialised software solution and data centre facilities for covering over 2,000 locations across the country.

Minister for communications and IT, Kapil Sibal, unveiled a commemorative stamp, while finance minister Pranab Mukherjee released a book titled “ESIC Sparkling Diamond” on the occasion.

Wipro’s shares closed at Rs437.55 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.76% down from the previous close.


Ministers’ group discusses impact of court order on 2G licences

The group met to discuss future course of action including legal options available for the government, following the apex court’s 2nd February decision of cancelling 122 licences issued to mobile phone companies in 2008

New Delhi: An informal group of ministers, including finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and telecom minister Kapil Sibal, today met for the second time in as many weeks to discuss fallout of the Supreme Court order quashing 122 telecom licences, reports PTI.

The meeting, also attended by Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar, was however inconclusive due to the absence of law minister Salman Khurshid and attorney general GE Vahanvati, sources said.

The group met to discuss future course of action including legal options available for the government, following the apex court’s 2nd February decision of cancelling 122 licences issued to mobile phone companies in 2008.

The government has already sought the attorney general’s opinion on filing a review petition and the ministers were supposed to deliberate on the issue at today’s meeting.

Mr Sibal, however, refused to comment on the deliberations.

“If anything happens, we will let you know,” Mr Chandrashekhar told reporters here.

Prime minister Manmohan Singh had on 11th February discussed the fallouts of the Supreme Court ruling with the senior ministers.

Mr Sibal had last week stated that the government was studying the implications of the judgement as it had impact on other sectors as well.

“I have been saying this repeatedly that the impact of the judgement is far-reaching. It has implications not only on the (telecom) sector but on other sectors as well,” Mr Sibal had told PTI.

The apex court, cancelling licences allocated by the then telecom minister A Raja, had stated that auction was the best way for allocation of scarce natural resources. The court had also defined natural resources as both renewable and non-renewable.

Mr Sibal had said that after the government studies the implications of the judgement, it would take a view on the way how it should proceed.

Today’s meeting also assumes significance as two foreign companies—Bahrain Telecom and Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat—have announced their exit from India.

Another operator Loop has written to the prime minister, asking the government to return the licence fee paid by the company along with interest.

This is expected to put pressure on the government as the operators are waiting for clarity on rules to safeguard the multi-crore investments made by these players.

Another operator Telenor has, however, re-iterated its commitment to continue operations in the country, although as part of a new venture.


IRDA bringing in transparency in tying and bundling insurance products

The move by the insurance regulator is in the interest of customers as it would bring transparency in the way insurance is pushed by intermediaries. Many times the customer does not even know the insurance company’s name whose product he may be forced to buy

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has come out with a discussion paper which details the aspects of tying and bundling insurance products. Insurance mis-selling or forced selling is a reality that cannot be easily wished away. Often, the customer ends up with a product with little knowledge of insurance company as there may not be a choice. “White labeling” of insurance products makes it difficult for customers to differentiate between the core product and the incidental one. There is a conflict of interest in most of these cases as the seller is often a corporate agent or their group entities are insurance brokers. These areas, therefore, need attention from the consumer-protection point of view.

Buying a new car usually ends up with the auto dealer pushing the insurance product of his choice down the customer’s throat. The product is from the insurance company which gives a hefty discount for getting volume sales, which the dealer undertakes. Life insurance against home loans is classic example of a customer either taking what the bank offers or going to another bank. There is no other option. In both these examples, the intermediary commission is paid by the insurance company.

According to Avadhoot Mavlankar, principal officer at Shinrai Insurance Broking, “This is not new to the insurance market. The classic example was a credit card, which used to have in-built personal accident cover. But its shortcomings were discovered when there were serial blasts in the Mumbai local trains. The personal accident policy did not cover terrorism. Tying and bundling insurance policies with other services is mostly coming as a mandatory requirement especially by banks; which is not a healthy practice.”

Arvind Laddha, chief executive officer of Vantage Insurance Brokers and Risk Advisors, brings another perspective. According to him, “Tying or bundling of products helps customers by reducing the transaction effort and also opens the possibility of some savings for them. However, occasionally we do see that the insurance intermediary is able to exercise undue influence on the customer, due to the extended relationship they enjoy. The regulator should consider allowing the distributor to bundle the insurance product but should ensure that the customer can transparently see the value he is getting. It may also be appropriate to issue guidelines that do not allow a bundled product to be highlighted largely as an insurance product, as it could result in formation of groups with a view to merely enjoy the benefits of bulk purchase of insurance.”

According to Kamalji Sahay, managing director and chief executive officer, Star Union Dai-ichi Life "Bundling of products evolved for adding more value for the customer through one life insurance policy.  In fact, this offers the customer better benefits than what he would be able to receive through a core product.  This suits the need of large number of customers; of course, not every customer." Moneylife tried contacting several other insurance companies to get feedback on IRDA initiative, but there was no response till the time of writing this article.

IRDA’s discussion paper comes down heavily on group insurance covers that are bundled with mutual fund products. According to the insurance watchdog, “One of the concerns that arise here is the manner in which this is advertised by the service provider. Providing information regarding the insurance cover is okay but highlighting that more than the core service being provided misleads the public. This violates the IRDA (Insurance Advertisements) Regulations, 2000. The insurance cover will have to be incidental to the other financial product.  There could be instances where the public is led to believe that the insurance cover is the main feature of the product that is being sold.”

Mr Mavlankar says, “Some insurers who have big retail outlets have tried it through mall assurance, but it has not been successful. IRDA should come up with very clear guidelines and should specify the minimum cover such policies should offer, further the drafting of such policies should also be simple.”

Tying is defined as two or more products packaged together where at least one of the products is not sold separately while bundling occurs when products are packaged but are also available separately. The discussion paper is a great initiative from IRDA which will delve whether it should stop bundling of insurance products with other goods or services or allow this activity with some checks built-in. IRDA has sought feedback on its discussion paper, which is available on its website www.irda.gov.in.  Kindly mail your opinion to [email protected] on or before 15 March 2012.




5 years ago


My Medical Insurance claim approx. Rs.9000/-(Nine thousand) is rejected by New India Assurance -ho-Mumbai.

In spite of informing -in advance daycare surgical procedure with surgeon's letter -it took over TEN days for TPA Medi assist to reply on my intimation after 3/4 reminders.

Once claim is submitted-TPA and new India -ro/bo/zo/ho ALL OF THEM has rejected my cliam since I did not stayed over 24 hrs in hospital.(Medically it was not required as certified by treating doctor.)

Complain was lodged with IRDA as per format and ack.received on 28th Jan 2012.Its now ONE MONTH whenever called up IRDA call center-NO REPLY-NO COMMITTMENTS.JUST ASKING ME TO WAIT.It appears that complaints lodged with IRDA is a total waste.( call center also appears to be OUTSOURCED !!!!!)

I WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY health and life INSURANCE claims-if rejected by Insurance co.on some flimsy grounds ?

Should a common man trust IRDA ??

Does it also indicate that policy holder should INFLATE HOSPITAL BILLS in association with hospitals and doctors to get higher amount of medical claim re-imbursed ??


5 years ago

I am planning to buy a new car. The dealer quotes the ‘on road’ price. The ‘on road’ price includes tax, registration and insurance. I want to take an insurance of my own choice. Is it possible? Can a buy insurance without an agent. If yes, how?


P M Ravindran

In Reply to Vasudev 5 years ago

You can simply go to a general insurance company and take the policy but them you read the certificate and it will have an agent code added! Possibly there is a surreptitious deal to give the agent's commission to some selected agents on a list maintained for the purpose!.


5 years ago

I have no faith in IRDA.. My personal experience is very bad in case of Reliance Isurance Policy complain.


Deepak R Khemani

In Reply to CBPATHAK 5 years ago

Why don't you share your full experience with others, it may help others decide on taking policies from Reliance Insurance

P M Ravindran

5 years ago

In India I am aware that a lot of cheating goes on in the name of insurance. The agents make your life miserable offering the moon till you buy a policy and then vanish like thin air and when you submit a claim then again hell is let loose!

In the case of an educational loan, a bank, apart from taking collateral security in the form of land deeds, also insisted on personal insurance of the student availing the loan! Between the interest and the insurance premium, there is a lot of drain on the finances!

Then in a case without bundling, in the case of a health insurance claim of a subscriber who got afflicted with Glio Blastoma Multiforme, the company company initially rejected the hospital bills saying that radiation is an OP treatment procedure and later rejected the bills for the follow up chemo treatment saying that there was no hospitalisation!


Deepak R khemani

In Reply to P M Ravindran 5 years ago

Can you please name the company sir, it will help others in keeping away from them, people are very active on Social media nowadays, creates a very band reputation for the company.

P M Ravindran

In Reply to Deepak R khemani 5 years ago

The bank is PNB, the insurance company is New India Assurance Company and their TPA, TTK Health Care Services Pvt Ltd. The 1st claim rejected by TPA was finally cleared by the Insurance company. The 2nd claim is pending action by the insurance company.


5 years ago

My friend bought a Mercedes Benz recently. The dealer quoted RS.120000/. He went to site called and was bale to get it around Rs.80000/- including a bumper to bumper cover, covering plastic parts and no depreciation. H e had a hard time convincing the dealer to give a quote without insurance. Most of the consumers do not know insurance is deregulated and hence concentrate on the price of the car. The dealer reduces teh price but makes it on insurance commission


Vikas Gupta

In Reply to ragan 5 years ago

I totally agree with Mr. Ragan. Dealers must quote Car Prices with & without Insurance. Customers must be given options to have insurance coverage by themselves.

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