Insurance sales agents working for the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India on Wednesday took out a rally in the Capital, demanding retirement benefits like pension and provident fund and medi-claim for themselves.
They also demanded that the insurance sector should not be opened further to FDI as it would adversely affect the agents. At present, the cap on FDI in the insurance sector is at 26 per cent.
The main objective of the march was to "Save Life Insurance Corporation of India and protect its agents."
Basudeb Acharia, senior CPI (M) leader and the president of the LIC Agents’ Organisation of India, said 11 lakh LIC agents have worked through the years to acquire huge business for the Corporation but have themselves been left out from retirement benefits as they fall in the unorganised sector. ``They are only entitled to gratuity and commission,’’ Acharia said.
Acharia added that a government circular to cover the agents under provident fund is pending since 1956. ``After 50 years, nothing has materialised. There could be a contributory provident fund scheme for them. Neither are they paid pension. We want a welfare fund for these 11 lakh agent,’’ Acharia added.
In 2004, a delegation from the organisation had met the Lok Sabha Speaker, and Union Finance Minister, P Chidambaram with a list of demands and a memorandum. "We met Chidambaram again a year later. But nothing has progressed," Acharia said.
Acharia said that 2006 is the golden jubilee year for LIC and premium income of Rs 87000 crore has been generated. ``A one-time golden jubilee year bonus of Rs 2200 crore has been distributed among policy holders. As share of profit, Rs 695 crore has also been given to the Government. Agents should also get similar incentives,’’ Acharia said.
Acharia said that one way the problems of the agents could be resolved is by bring in the social securities bill for the unorganised sector workers, which envisages a contributory provident fund and a pension scheme for them.
Email Sutirtho Patronobis: sutirthopatranobis @hindustantimes.com