Employees of various branches of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India under the banner Northeren Zone Insurance Employees' Association (NZIEA), Ludhiana, formed a human chain in Feroze Gandhi market to protest against insurance laws (amendment) bill and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) bill.
Carrying placards and banners, the protesters alleged that the insurance laws bill will strengthen the stranglehold of foreign finance capital in insurance sector in India by increasing the cap of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the present 26% to 49%.
The protesters also distributed leaflets to mobilise public opinion against the two bills. The protesters alleged that the second bill would pave the way for disinvestments in the public sector general insurance companies, which is against the interests of the public.
Divisional secretary of NZIEA Amarjeet Singh alleged that the move to raise the FDI cap in insurance is to appease international finance capital.
“The FDI in insurance sector was allowed in 2001 and from 2001 to 2011 foreign capital has only Rs 6,813 crores as equity in 33 private insurance companies. While LIC alone provided for Rs 7,04,151 crores into social sector and infrastructure sector during the eleventh five-year plan (2007-12). This clearly proves that for the growth of any developing economy, people's savings are a much better alternative than foreign investments.” Amarjeet Singh said.
He further argued that, “The insurance penetration in India is led by LIC. The insurance penetration level in India is at 4.4% as against the insurance penetration of level of 3.5% in USA and the world average of 4%. There is no truth in the argument that FDI increase would help insurance penetration.”