Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

Health insurance in new, improved avatar

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

“Till now our focus was to work as a development authority but now it has been more than a decade and it is time to act as a regulatory authority,” Hari Narayan, the chairman of India’s Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) was quoted as saying in a recent interview.

And true to form, IRDA has just released an exposure draft on the functioning of health insurance in India.

These draft guidelines, if implemented, will go a long way in setting up a truly useful and efficient health insurance mechanism in India. It has attempted to cover all aspects of a health insurance plan — from simplifying the product documents and design, enabling some very useful features, protection of the policyholders’ interest, efficient and transparent claims handling, portability and issues mostly faced by senior citizens (this is a pain area currently).

Where will the rupee finally rest?

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

For nearly a decade, the rupee has been stable — moving in the narrow range of 44-45 to the dollar. But since August last year, the rupee began to slide and in less than six months was down 23 percent.

How do we explain India’s economic woes?

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(Rajan Ghotgalkar is Managing Director of Principal Pnb Asset Management Company. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of either Principal Pnb or Reuters)

Our GDP growth rates have slid consistently quarter on quarter from 8.5 to 5.3 pct. Surely this is in keeping with a glaring trend. Therefore, this sudden surge of emotions and panic after wallowing in so such mass self-deception is surprising to say the least.

What if Greece exits the euro zone

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

While the idea of a Greek exit from the euro zone has long been rejected by politicians and deemed nothing more than a “tail risk” by most investors, there has been a clear shift in opinion after the Greek election in early May failed to form a new government. The repeat election on June 17 is therefore critical to the country’s future in the euro zone and to financial markets worldwide. If Greece fails to form a new government, or forms one that rejects its bailout plan with official creditors, the probability of an exit would rise significantly.

India Market Weekahead – Brace for lows

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Equities reacted sharply due to continued concerns over the euro zone crisis and particularly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth numbers which were much below the most pessimistic forecast. Minor relief in the form of favourable opinion polls in Greece along with expectations for a policy stimulus in China to support growth failed to provide the necessary impetus to take the Nifty beyond the 5000 mark on a sustainable basis.

India Market Weekahead – Policy action, rupee to decide market direction

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The week gone by displayed indecisiveness by participants as the markets garnered small gains after moving in a tight range. The Nifty managed to hold on to the 4900 level mark as investors cheered the government’s announcement to raise petrol prices in an attempt to revive the policy inaction tag.

More joining the general insurance party in India

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Well, I don’t know if it should be called a party. But while there have been talks of a few exits (or shall we say strategic re-alignment) in the life insurance space, we have seen three new entrants in the general insurance space in the last few months.

Should the RBI delay a rate cut?

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

With the return of inflation, there are doubts whether the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will go in for the next cut in repo rate any time soon. In April, inflation was up at 7.2 percent, 2 percent more than in March.

India Market Weekahead – Time to start buying

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

May is typically a bear month for the stock markets as players often look to take advantage of the adage, ‘sell in May and go away’. Before going on vacation, I was expecting the markets to correct to levels of 5000/5050 but was pleasantly surprised to see the crack leading to around 4800 levels. All the negative factors compounded over the past few weeks gave momentum to the ‘sell’ sentiment which remained jittery over the fate of Greece after an inconclusive election.

Dark clouds hover as Indian parliament turns 60

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Despite the mounting criticism and steady loss of faith in democratic institutions and the many questions being raised by Indians about the personal integrity of those in public life, it was a proud moment for India when its parliament convened a special session on Sunday to mark the 60th anniversary of the first sitting of the Indian parliament on May 13, 1952. The luminaries at the time included Rajendra Prasad, S. Radhakrishnan, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and B.R. Ambedkar amongst others.

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