Jaitley says India must become pensioned, insured society

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today highlighted the need for strengthening the social security apparatus to make India a pensioned and an insured society.

Speaking at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India, Mr. Jaitley said the parameters of social security have to be significantly improved.

When we evolve from being a developing society to a developed society, the main challenge before India is how well it can look after its citizens in the event of a personal crisis he said.

The Minister lamented that India was yet to fully realize the importance of adequate social security. A proposal made in the Budget aimed at creating a pensioned society had to be rolled back following unanimous opposition by workers’ unions, he said.

The value of social security was not fully realized, he said while expressing the hope that this resistance will soon fade away.

Mr Jaitley stressed on the importance of low cost life insurance, low premium accident insurance policies, crop insurance scheme to protect farmers, health insurance scheme for poor and senior citizens, terming them as essential instruments of social security.

The Finance Minister said the LIC of India, with its unmatched branch network, deep penetration across the length and breadth of the country was most suited for expanding the social security net.

As the economy grows further, the need for deeper penetration and greater expansion of insurance will be felt. LIC and others will not only have greater relevance, but their business will also expand, he added.

In a competitive environment it is always the private sector which flourishes, as it is free from bureaucraticcontrols and can take market centric decisions, whereas State instrumentalities are bound by various processes and regulations.

But LIC, which began in a monopoly environment, stands as a shining example of a state institution standing up to competition, Mr Jaitley said.

The Finance Minister said if LIC were a listed company it would be the most valuable company in India and among the biggest in the world itself. LIC’s ability to utilize its large corpus to finance various projects makes it a key player in India’s growth story, he added.

On the occasion, LIC declared a special Diamond Jubilee bonus on all eligible life insurance policies. It also launched the new LIC Diamond Bima policy on the occasion.

Union Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal, Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal, LIC Chairman  S K Roy and Managing Directors V K Sharma and Usha Sangwan were among those present on the occasion.

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