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Postal department to invest in stocks

In a bold initiative, the Centre has allowed the Department of Posts to invest in the stock markets.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2006 17:20 IST

In a bold initiative, the Centre has allowed the Department of Posts (DoP) to invest about Rs 10,000 crore from its life insurance schemes in the stock markets for better returns.

"Finance Ministry has allowed the Department to keep these funds of about Rs 10,000 crore with special deposits, saying that the department must find outside investment opportunities, including investments in stock markets", DoP Secretary U Srinivasa Raghavan told reporters in New Delhi.

He said the Ministry had made it clear that Special Depository Rates on investments in the two schemes of DoP PLI (Postal Life Insurance) and RPLI (Rural Postal Life Insurance), will not be available after September 30, 2006.

Asked if the government would form Asset Management Companies (AMC), Raghavan said DoP had appointed global consultant AF Fergusson to look into investment option for the schemes and it was examining the matter.

"We will take any decision only after careful examination and that too adopt a stratgey, which will have enough safeguards to ensure safety of investors' funds," he said.

With phasing out of SDR on investments in the scheme, DoP has sought level-playing field from government to operate its insurance schemes. Currently, only government and PSU employees can subscribe to PLI, while RPLI is open to all.

"I am seeking level-playing field from the government for PLI so that ordinary people in urban areas can also be allowed to opt for the schemes. Our premium is lower and bonus is higher...," Raghavan said.

AF Fergusson has suggested formation of AMC, which is to be selected through a process of bidding, official sources said, adding that a special cell would also be set up in DoP to manage the operations.