New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday stressed the need to strengthen the social security apparatus in India to make the country a pensioned and an insured society.
Lamenting that “We have still not fully realised the importance of adequate social security for the people”, Mr Jaitley said a budget proposal for creating a pensioned society had to be rolled back following opposition by workers’ unions.
“The value of social security was not fully realized.. this resistance will soon fade away,” the minister said, speaking at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
“When we evolve from being a developing society to a developed society, the main challenge before the country is how well it can look after its citizens in the event of a personal crisis,” Mr Jaitley pointed out.
He outlined the importance of low-coast life insurance, low premium accident insurances policies, crop insurance schemes to protect farmers, health insurance schemes for poor and senior citizens as ‘essential instruments’ of social security.
Lauding LIC for maintaining its leadership position even in a competitive world, he said with its unmatched branch network and deep penetration across the country was most suited for expanding the society 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,” Jaitley added.
While in a competitive environment, it is always the private sector which flourishes since it’s free from bureaucratic controls and can take market-centric decisions, state-run bodies are bound by various processes and regulations.
However, LIC, which began in a monopoly environment stood as a shining example of a state institution standing up to competition, he said.
The Finance Minister said if LIC were a listed company, it would be the most valuable in India and among the biggest in the world and its ability to utilize its large corpus to finance various projects made it a key player in India’s growth story.
Present on the occasion were Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal, Finance Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal, LIC Chairman S.K. Roy, Managing directors V.K. Sharma and Usha Sangwan.
To mark the occasion, LIC declared a special Diamond Jubilee bonus on all eligible life insurance policies and launched the new ‘LIC Diamond Bima Policy’.