law

Benjamin Disraeli – The Great British Conservative Leader Who Introduced the Public Health Act

Benjamin Disraeli, First Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-81) was a great British statesman and novelist. He was born in London and came from a Jewish family that had converted to Anglicanism.

He was a most ambitious and a larger than life individual. He dressed in colorful clothes. He always chose his words carefully and spoke only when he had something memorable and witty to say.

He began life working for three years in a lawyer’s office. He then – unsuccessfully – tried to start a newspaper.

His first big breakthrough was when he achieved fame and success as a popular novelist. His first novel was Vivian Grey (1826). The most famous of his many novels were perhaps his two political novels, Coningsby (1844) and Sibyl (1845).

Disraeli joined the Conservative Party and in 1837 he entered the British Parliament as the member for Maidstone.

His first speech to Parliament was heckled by other Members of Parliament who disliked his flowery manner of speaking and his colorful clothing. In concluding his speech, he made the famous reply: “Though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear me.”

He became the leader of the Young England movement, which was home to that section of the Conservatives known as the Romantic Tories. The Romantic Tories were political conservatives who were critical of the effects of the Industrial Revolution that were occurring in Great Britain at that time. They believed that the monarchy and the church were the natural protectors of the agricultural and industrial working classes and were suspicious of the Industrial Revolution’s tendency to destroy the traditional protections and obligations which had been in place in Britain since time immemorial.

He also opposed the free trade policies of his fellow Conservative, Sir Robert Peel. Peel engineered the repeal of the Corn Laws (1845-46), which controlled the price of wheat and of other types of grain via the imposition of protective tariffs on the import of foreign grain. Instead, Disraeli favored protectionism to protect British agriculture and industry. In later days, Disraeli stopped supporting protectionism to a large extent, having come to the view that the Corn Laws had mostly favored the interests of landowners and hurt the poor.

While in Parliament, Disraeli became Chancellor of the Exchequer three times and then became the leader of the Commons (the lower house of the British Parliament). In the latter role, he introduced the Reform Bill of 1867.

Disraeli served as prime minister of the United Kingdom for two terms – first, in 1868, and then, later and more extensively, in the period 1874-80. During his second prime ministership, he promoted British imperialism (that is, the extension of the British Empire) and a forward foreign policy. In 1876 he passed legislation conferring on Queen Victoria a new title: Empress of India.

Disraeli led Britain into the Second Afghan War (1878-79) and into the Zulu War (1879), and he sought to lessen the power and influence of Russia.

He showed much skillful diplomacy in protecting Britain’s foreign interests. He stopped a war between Russia and Turkey by sending a British fleet to the Dardanelles. By such measures he checked Russian imperialism in Turkey and the Balkans.

In the 1878 Congress of Berlin, Disraeli successfully promoted a treaty that was most favorable to Britain. He persuaded Otto von Bismarck, the German Chancellor, to support his treaty and its clauses keeping Russia out of the Mediterranean Sea. His treaty, which restricted the power of Britain’s opponent, Russia, incidentally contributed to European peace at that time and was praised by Bismarck for doing so.

During his second administration, Britain became half-owner, with Egypt, of the Suez Canal (1875). This move gave Britain power over Egypt and, more importantly, over the Suez Canal, that vital but vulnerable component in the new shorter and quicker route between Britain and its colonies in Asia, East Africa and the Pacific Ocean.

Disraeli also passed legislation codifying and extending certain social reforms – for example, slum clearance and urban renewal, the Public Health Act of 1875, and more rights to workers to join trade unions and promote their interests. However, it should be noted that many of these measures had been originally initiated under the administration of Disraeli’s predecessor and great rival, the Liberal William Gladstone.

GST Implementation in Malaysia – The Argument

There were many responses when the Malaysian government first announced the Financial Budget for Malaysia, year 2010, both good and bad. But when they were undecided about GST, it sparked more conversation on whether it’ll benefit the Rakyat, or further threaten poorer communities in Malaysia.

What goods GST covers

As proposed by our dear government, GST covers all types of goods & services sold to Malaysian & non-Malaysian residents (therefore consumers) except for a common commodities such as rice, flour & sugar.

This goes to mean: Whenever you walk into your favorite hypermarket with the family to get some groceries in the future, you will be charged additional ~{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} (the proposed additional 4{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056}) on top of your bill except for certain controlled items.

Further, Malaysia’s main revenue shouldn’t just live off petroleum. In other words, we shouldn’t put all eggs in one basket because petroleum revenues have risks of its own, seeing that it’s a natural resource.

What reason did they give? More funds for development and expenses.

How much would they probably get? RM1 billion (RM1,000,000,000) per annum in estimated rounded-up revenue.

Will it hurt the poor & middle class?

To a certain extent, it will somehow affect pockets of middle and lower income group Malaysians.

The arguments:

  1. Recent price hike in petrol, prices of commodities have increased drastically. And now another one called GST?
  2. Income tax brackets for high earners aren’t as ‘expensive’ as middle-to-low income groups.
  3. The Malaysian government has saved approximately RM2 billion (RM2,000,000,000) by lowering fuel subsidies – What’s the take on GST now for lower income groups?
  4. GST is tax on SPENDING. Basically, everything from parking fees to purchasing mattress. Even with GST-exempted items, this would still hit lower income groups in Malaysia.
  5. Private sectors aren’t paying much to Malaysians – Other more developed countries such as Singapore could take this hit because wages & salaries are much higher.
  6. Other countries such as Britain, India, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore has GST – Doesn’t mean GST has to be implemented in Malaysia. Their economic status and way of gaining revenue varies from Malaysia. (GST is also called VAT – Value Added Tax in other countries)
  7. Inflation may happen. Prime Minister Mr. Najib has guaranteed no inflation – But with the introduction of GST, the chain of ‘passing the cost’ will end up usually at the hands of consumers.
  8. Corruption isn’t a rare thing in Malaysia – So businesses has already included ‘corruption prices’ in goods & services. How does that not reflect additional costs to consumers?
  9. Out of inflation pressures, higher prices for goods & services are sought.

Prime Minister Mr. Najib has promised Malaysians that they will be tabling a public discussion on GST (called the GST Bill) on December. There are also several upsides that could be seen – But until Mr. Najib tables the meeting on GST Bill, we shouldn’t be skeptical of anything yet.

Other side of the GST story

GST has been said to promise a few things:

  1. Implementation will not be abrupt. It will be a slow & steady tax preparation so that individuals and small businesses will not be adversely affected.
  2. It will replace the 10+5{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} services and goods tax. This means taxes are lower now – Consumers need not pay more for one area, but it’s divided into many other source of ‘tax’ payments.
  3. GST rates are promised at 4{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056}, out of the normal 10{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} or 5{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} charged in restaurants.
  4. Implementation will not occur until middle to late 2011 or 2012. Planning time is essential to not put ‘inflation pressure’ on small businesses.
  5. Government’s coffers will increase. This will enable further development and budget control to the country, other than relying just on petroleum or income tax revenues.
  6. Tax when consumed, not when earned is much better. It allows better control. Spending influences will be “Careful” and “More controlled” when purchasing on higher prices are made rather than “taxable incomes” generated from work.
  7. It’s a broad-based tax system. Some items may be slightly more expensive & cheaper. It’s not a overall standardized taxation method.

Your opinion on GST

Of course, there are many pros and cons of the new GST system – And the implementers should look more intricately into all income groups, balance their sheets and understand what are the effects first. While we can only propose so much, there’s only so much we can do.

Here are some of the ‘preparation techniques’ the tablers of the GST Bill can adopt:

  1. Be intricate with details: Tax is a complicated subject, like a science of its own. If you make the subject complicated, it may lead to more misunderstandings and later, more arguments.
  2. Introduce ‘layman terms’ for further understanding. Giving examples always help. Examples on implementations always help. Tell a story to the public – And make it make sense to them.
  3. Use other form of publicity media: Tabling the GST Bill on national newspapers and mass media isn’t going to cut it. Find other means such as introduction campaigns Malaysia-wide.
  4. Engage community understanding: Allow certain private and public (individual or company) figures to table talks and debates on GST Malaysia-wide. This encourages engagement and allows more problems & solutions to be seen.

The Malaysian government or finance department has a long time more (approximately 15 – 20 months) to table talks around Malaysia with regards to GST.

Delegated Media Regulation Within the Context of Broadcasting in South Africa

Introduction

This paper discusses the concept of delegated media regulation within the context of broadcasting in South Africa. It briefly discusses the history of media regulation during the apartheid period; the transformation of broadcasting media from an authoritarian government, to a liberalised media, the impact of the transformation with regards to internal media policies; focusing mostly in broadcasting media policy. The paper will then discuss the formation of independent regulatory agencies by government as delegated bodies; to monitor broadcasting media. These include the Independent Broadcasting Act of 1993 (IBA), the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) and the merger to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), and the existence of the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA). In discussing these bodies, the paper will look at the role played by these organisations in regulating broadcasting media, and the impact they have in the development and monitoring of broadcasting media.

Brief History

Apartheid affected every single aspect of South Africa, including the media. Laws that regulated the media were tailor-made to restrict freedom of expression and subject the media to the extremes of the apartheid government. Before the rise of democracy, South Africa showed essential features of aristocracy; which consisted of whites, Indians and coloured people nominated to the legislative assembly. The ideology of apartheid brought division among the South African society along racial lines. The divisions in society and domination of the majority by the minority were reflected in policy formulation; which included stipulations that restricted the media (Fourie, 2004: 168). This was evident as the government exercised its powers in the broadcasting media. When the SABC was established in parliament, it was said to be the public broadcaster; but this was not the case. Because of political philosophies related to the political values of the society and those in power at the time, the SABC was the state broadcaster and not a public broadcaster; and as a result was said to be the apartheid state’s most powerful propaganda tool Dennis Jjuuko (2005: 3).

According to Jjuuko “The assumption to political power by the National Party in 1948 meant the Afrikanerisation of the SABC, which was achieved largely through controls of the board.” Jjuuko continues to say that during this time the SABC had to play a “significant role in the politics of the day, with no space to make independent editorial decisions.” This particularly had a negative impact on the importance on the SABC’s internal policies. As a result the SABC was referred to as “his master’s voice”, as it gave the government a platform to articulate the apartheid ideology, to control the people of South Africa; particularly blacks.

In support of this argument, one of the main laws that restricted media freedom was the one that reduced the broadcast/publication of activities of anti-government black groups. Fourie (2004) argues that from the apartheid laws “one can deduce that the public interest was very narrowly defined. (That) Many laws/policies of the apartheid regime only made provision for the interest of the minority and the security for their dominant position.”

Even though freedom of speech was in the constitution, it was not enshrined in the Bill of Rights, thus media freedom was not guaranteed. According to Fourie government/external policies forced the media to operate in a very restrictive legal framework; with more than 100 laws that restricted the conduct of journalists as well as media content. Government had the right to ban publications and to insist on the approval of media content before publication. This made the reporting of misconduct of government officials very difficult; and criticising the state was out of the question.

2. Transformation of broadcasting media

The transition to democracy during the mid 1990s raised questions on how to transform the media as an organ of “racist ideology into a forum of the advancement of national unity and equality” (Ashley Dawson). The transformation of the media incorporated issues of deregulation, liberalisation, diversification, industrialisation, convergence and privatisation. Also to be taken into account were economic issues, social and/ cultural issues, which include nationalism, local languages and cultural diversity; political issues-focusing on freedom of expression and freedom of speech, as well as the control and regulation of the media.

Early 1990, the National Party saw itself being influenced to take a liberal policy route in its broadcasting policies. This was due to the formation of a Task Group which was led by Professor H.C Viljoen, on Broadcasting in South Africa. The findings of the Task Group were not at all in favour of the apartheid government broadcasting policies. The recommendations were of a programming that “would cater for all sections of the general public” (Jjuuko, 2005). In a place of serving government, the SABC was to serve the public. The findings were clearly influenced by a functionalist paradigm and not power as was the case before.

Early 1994, the National Party (NP) and the African National Congress (ANC) agreed for the “SABC not to be used as a tool for political abuse” (Berger, 2004). Pressures rose as media practitioners were threatened by police and political activists, trying by all means to interfere with internal media policies and decisions. Media freedom was then enshrined in the constitution, as the right to information and freedom of speech.

Internal media policy

Internal policy can not be excluded from the external policy framework, for it is always formulated within the parameters of the external framework. This is due to the link between the media, economic and political structure of a country. Fourie (2001:190) states that “Internal media policy formulation takes place within the structure and operation of a medium itself. (And that) Gatekeepers are generally responsible for policy formulation on this level.”

A new political dispensation in South Africa impacted on the internal policy formulation of South Africa’s public broadcaster. There were also changes in the legal framework in the country, as the media could not broadcast nor publish certain information. “The unbanning of political organisations and political leaders in 1990 had an immediate impact on media internal policy” (Fourie). This was due to the fact that the apartheid news policy specified that the SABC would not offer a platform to opposition parties (Fourie, 2001). After 1990, the media experienced a more liberal working environment as the laws that restricted the media were amended; living more room for internal media policy.

As media democracy was in transition, government saw a need to delegate control to independent regulatory bodies to deal with media policy. These independent bodies would perform duties of allocation of frequency spectrum and licensing, the monitoring of broadcasters’ compliance with licence conditions, including content issues and competition, as well as protecting and upholding the editorial and programming independence of all broadcasters. All these changes were inevitably going to have an impact on both the power and importance of internal media policies over government external policies in both print and broadcasting media.

3. Independent regulatory bodies

3.1 SATRA – IBA – ICASA

Fourie argues that “The narrow articulation of the public interest by the previous government was also clearly reflected in telecommunications policy formulation and the implementation of this policy under apartheid.” As in broadcasting and print media, freedom to better services and access to this sector featured strongly in its policy formulation; also the application of universal service as a policy instrument reflected the historical inequalities of the South African society (Fourie, 2001).

The rise to democracy saw South Africa taking cognisance of the international trends; which included the deregulation of the telecommunications and broadcasting, and the phasing out of monopolies. Also technological developments which include convergence between broadcasting and telecommunications impacted on the regulation of both sectors.

The emergence of the first democratic elections in South Africa also lead to the transformation of the SABC as a public broadcaster; thus the formation of the Independent Broadcasting Act (IBA)1993, and the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of 1996. SATRA was established as an independent body to regulate the telecommunications industry. Also as the independent regulator SATRA had to balance the interests of consumers, and the stakeholders in Telkom as well as the market participants. The formation of these two bodies was due to the need to ensure the development of the media in areas of public broadcasting, commercial and community broadcasting, and lastly to guard against internal media policy.

As part of the transformation the IBA called for the Triple Inquiry, which stated that the independence of the media is a central public principle which ensures editorial freedom (Triple Inquiry Report, 1995). In 1995 the government indicated that it “fully recognised and accepted the role of the media to be a critical commentator on government activity in the country” and that “the media should be beyond the control of government” (Johnson, 1996: 297, sited in Steyn).

The IBA was subsequently merged with SATRA in 2000 to form the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). The merger was to ensure effective and seamless regulation of the telecommunications and the broadcasting sectors as well as to accommodate the convergence of technologies. Through the formation of this independent regulatory body, it was then decided that editorial independence together with internal media policies were of outmost importance; that the broadcaster (using the SABC as an example) should safeguard its editorial independence to ensure its credibility as a national source of reliable and regular information.

As the democracy years rolled over, successive ministers of communication attempted to claw back some of the forfeited control over electronic communications, and correspondingly reduce some of the independence for the players involved. This trend has also been in broadcasting. “Government has felt that SABC has been law unto itself in deciding how to deliver on, and be accountable for, its legally enshrined mandate” (Berger, 2005). This is what led to the introduction of editorial policies in the SABC, which was initiated by the Broadcasting Amendment Bill of 2002. In embracing the importance of these internal media policies; parliament declared the independent regulator ICASA; which works at arms length from the government to approve them.

ICASA derives its mandate from ICASA Act of 2000, the Independent Broadcasting Act of 1993, Broadcasting act of 1999, and Telecommunications Authority Act of 1996. ICASA’s mandate includes the regulation of broadcasting in the public interest, and to perform adjudication functions. As part of delegated media regulation, ICASA works hand-in-hand with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa. The BCCSA was set up by National Association of broadcaster of Southern Africa in 1993 to adjudicate and mediate complaints against broadcasters/broadcasting licence holders.

ICASA also ensures fairness and diversity of views broadly representing South African society. One of its objectives is to ensure that in the provision of broadcasting services, the needs to language, cultural and religious groups, and the need of educational programmes, are taken into consideration (ICASA Position Paper 2000). It also promotes and encourages ownership and control of telecommunications and broadcasting services from historically disadvantaged groups. Again ICASA works with the Media Diversity and Development. Agency which also ensures the empowerment of previously disadvantaged groups.

3.2 The Media Diversity and Development Agency

After the 1994 democratic elections, the media in South Africa was still not reflective of the country’s diversity. The legacy of apartheid still played itself in various spheres of society, including the media, where the nature of the public discourse was shaped by patterns of ownership and control, such that the poor and disadvantage remained marginalised. The White Paper on Broadcasting Policy, 1998 concluded that, “Society benefits from free, independent, and pluralistic media.” It was then decided that a supportive policy environment was required; and in achieving this Government committed itself to corrective action.

This was due to the need to rectify the wrongs inflicted by apartheid in media development and diversity. Government took an initiative to set up an independent agency that will address problems of the media development and diversity in the country and provide assistance through loans and subsidies to the marginalised groups (MDDA position paper, November 2000). The MDDA’s mandate is to promote diversity and development in print, broadcasting and new media. It works with bodies dealing with Telecommunications, licensing and film. Also develops policies that are informed by ongoing research and evaluation.

4. Conclusion

It is of common knowledge that freedom of expression is one of the hallmarks of democracy; which requires a media that is free from state control. Before the democratisation of South Africa, the South African government was empowered to control the media, to limit free speech as it pleased. During this time newspapers were closed down, and anything that seemed to be giving voice to the voiceless, being a novel or a film, it was banned. Press freedom was at this time described as having “its left leg in plaster, its right arm in a sling a patch over the left eye, deafness in the right ear, a sprained ankle and a number of teeth knocked out” (Joel Merwis, 1979, in Berger 2004).

In redressing the historic imbalances caused by the apartheid policies, government saw it necessary to free the airwaves by delegating media regulation to independent bodies. This was and still is a way of ensuring democracy in the media sector. The telecommunications Green paper stipulates that, “telecoms is an important means of building democracy by giving citizens access to the information and telecommunications services that enable them to participate effectively in the decision-making process of society,” thus the formation of SATRA to guard against government interference.

ICASA and the MDDA also work hand-in-hand to ensure that “the central public interest principle in broadcasting is that of universal access, that there is a diverse range of language, religious, and cultural programming,” (MDDA, 2005). One can conclude and say the independent regulators are working towards harmonising dysfunctions; which can include opportunities for small media companies, challenges or problems around media policies to improve the functioning of broadcasting media as a whole.

Insurance Law – An Indian Perspective

INTRODUCTION

“Insurance should be bought to protect you against a calamity that would otherwise be financially devastating.”

In simple terms, insurance allows someone who suffers a loss or accident to be compensated for the effects of their misfortune. It lets you protect yourself against everyday risks to your health, home and financial situation.

Insurance in India started without any regulation in the Nineteenth Century. It was a typical story of a colonial epoch: few British insurance companies dominating the market serving mostly large urban centers. After the independence, it took a theatrical turn. Insurance was nationalized. First, the life insurance companies were nationalized in 1956, and then the general insurance business was nationalized in 1972. It was only in 1999 that the private insurance companies have been allowed back into the business of insurance with a maximum of 26{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} of foreign holding.

“The insurance industry is enormous and can be quite intimidating. Insurance is being sold for almost anything and everything you can imagine. Determining what’s right for you can be a very daunting task.”

Concepts of insurance have been extended beyond the coverage of tangible asset. Now the risk of losses due to sudden changes in currency exchange rates, political disturbance, negligence and liability for the damages can also be covered.

But if a person thoughtfully invests in insurance for his property prior to any unexpected contingency then he will be suitably compensated for his loss as soon as the extent of damage is ascertained.

The entry of the State Bank of India with its proposal of bank assurance brings a new dynamics in the game. The collective experience of the other countries in Asia has already deregulated their markets and has allowed foreign companies to participate. If the experience of the other countries is any guide, the dominance of the Life Insurance Corporation and the General Insurance Corporation is not going to disappear any time soon.

The aim of all insurance is to compensate the owner against loss arising from a variety of risks, which he anticipates, to his life, property and business. Insurance is mainly of two types: life insurance and general insurance. General insurance means Fire, Marine and Miscellaneous insurance which includes insurance against burglary or theft, fidelity guarantee, insurance for employer’s liability, and insurance of motor vehicles, livestock and crops.

LIFE INSURANCE IN INDIA

“Life insurance is the heartfelt love letter ever written.

It calms down the crying of a hungry baby at night. It relieves the heart of a bereaved widow.

It is the comforting whisper in the dark silent hours of the night.”

Life insurance made its debut in India well over 100 years ago. Its salient features are not as widely understood in our country as they ought to be. There is no statutory definition of life insurance, but it has been defined as a contract of insurance whereby the insured agrees to pay certain sums called premiums, at specified time, and in consideration thereof the insurer agreed to pay certain sums of money on certain condition sand in specified way upon happening of a particular event contingent upon the duration of human life.

Life insurance is superior to other forms of savings!

“There is no death. Life Insurance exalts life and defeats death.

It is the premium we pay for the freedom of living after death.”

Savings through life insurance guarantee full protection against risk of death of the saver. In life insurance, on death, the full sum assured is payable (with bonuses wherever applicable) whereas in other savings schemes, only the amount saved (with interest) is payable.

The essential features of life insurance are a) it is a contract relating to human life, which b) provides for payment of lump-sum amount, and c) the amount is paid after the expiry of certain period or on the death of the assured. The very purpose and object of the assured in taking policies from life insurance companies is to safeguard the interest of his dependents viz., wife and children as the case may be, in the even of premature death of the assured as a result of the happening in any contingency. A life insurance policy is also generally accepted as security for even a commercial loan.

NON-LIFE INSURANCE

“Every asset has a value and the business of general insurance is related to the protection of economic value of assets.”

Non-life insurance means insurance other than life insurance such as fire, marine, accident, medical, motor vehicle and household insurance. Assets would have been created through the efforts of owner, which can be in the form of building, vehicles, machinery and other tangible properties. Since tangible property has a physical shape and consistency, it is subject to many risks ranging from fire, allied perils to theft and robbery.

Few of the General Insurance policies are:

Property Insurance: The home is most valued possession. The policy is designed to cover the various risks under a single policy. It provides protection for property and interest of the insured and family.

Health Insurance: It provides cover, which takes care of medical expenses following hospitalization from sudden illness or accident.

Personal Accident Insurance: This insurance policy provides compensation for loss of life or injury (partial or permanent) caused by an accident. This includes reimbursement of cost of treatment and the use of hospital facilities for the treatment.

Travel Insurance: The policy covers the insured against various eventualities while traveling abroad. It covers the insured against personal accident, medical expenses and repatriation, loss of checked baggage, passport etc.

Liability Insurance: This policy indemnifies the Directors or Officers or other professionals against loss arising from claims made against them by reason of any wrongful Act in their Official capacity.

Motor Insurance: Motor Vehicles Act states that every motor vehicle plying on the road has to be insured, with at least Liability only policy. There are two types of policy one covering the act of liability, while other covers insurers all liability and damage caused to one’s vehicles.

JOURNEY FROM AN INFANT TO ADOLESCENCE!

Historical Perspective

The history of life insurance in India dates back to 1818 when it was conceived as a means to provide for English Widows. Interestingly in those days a higher premium was charged for Indian lives than the non-Indian lives as Indian lives were considered more risky for coverage.

The Bombay Mutual Life Insurance Society started its business in 1870. It was the first company to charge same premium for both Indian and non-Indian lives. The Oriental Assurance Company was established in 1880. The General insurance business in India, on the other hand, can trace its roots to the Triton (Tital) Insurance Company Limited, the first general insurance company established in the year 1850 in Calcutta by the British. Till the end of nineteenth century insurance business was almost entirely in the hands of overseas companies.

Insurance regulation formally began in India with the passing of the Life Insurance Companies Act of 1912 and the Provident Fund Act of 1912. Several frauds during 20’s and 30’s desecrated insurance business in India. By 1938 there were 176 insurance companies. The first comprehensive legislation was introduced with the Insurance Act of 1938 that provided strict State Control over insurance business. The insurance business grew at a faster pace after independence. Indian companies strengthened their hold on this business but despite the growth that was witnessed, insurance remained an urban phenomenon.

The Government of India in 1956, brought together over 240 private life insurers and provident societies under one nationalized monopoly corporation and Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) was born. Nationalization was justified on the grounds that it would create much needed funds for rapid industrialization. This was in conformity with the Government’s chosen path of State lead planning and development.

The (non-life) insurance business continued to prosper with the private sector till 1972. Their operations were restricted to organized trade and industry in large cities. The general insurance industry was nationalized in 1972. With this, nearly 107 insurers were amalgamated and grouped into four companies – National Insurance Company, New India Assurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company and United India Insurance Company. These were subsidiaries of the General Insurance Company (GIC).

The life insurance industry was nationalized under the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) Act of India. In some ways, the LIC has become very flourishing. Regardless of being a monopoly, it has some 60-70 million policyholders. Given that the Indian middle-class is around 250-300 million, the LIC has managed to capture some 30 odd percent of it. Around 48{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} of the customers of the LIC are from rural and semi-urban areas. This probably would not have happened had the charter of the LIC not specifically set out the goal of serving the rural areas. A high saving rate in India is one of the exogenous factors that have helped the LIC to grow rapidly in recent years. Despite the saving rate being high in India (compared with other countries with a similar level of development), Indians display high degree of risk aversion. Thus, nearly half of the investments are in physical assets (like property and gold). Around twenty three percent are in (low yielding but safe) bank deposits. In addition, some 1.3 percent of the GDP are in life insurance related savings vehicles. This figure has doubled between 1985 and 1995.

A World viewpoint – Life Insurance in India

In many countries, insurance has been a form of savings. In many developed countries, a significant fraction of domestic saving is in the form of donation insurance plans. This is not surprising. The prominence of some developing countries is more surprising. For example, South Africa features at the number two spot. India is nestled between Chile and Italy. This is even more surprising given the levels of economic development in Chile and Italy. Thus, we can conclude that there is an insurance culture in India despite a low per capita income. This promises well for future growth. Specifically, when the income level improves, insurance (especially life) is likely to grow rapidly.

INSURANCE SECTOR REFORM:

Committee Reports: One Known, One Anonymous!

Although Indian markets were privatized and opened up to foreign companies in a number of sectors in 1991, insurance remained out of bounds on both counts. The government wanted to proceed with caution. With pressure from the opposition, the government (at the time, dominated by the Congress Party) decided to set up a committee headed by Mr. R. N. Malhotra (the then Governor of the Reserve Bank of India).

Malhotra Committee

Liberalization of the Indian insurance market was suggested in a report released in 1994 by the Malhotra Committee, indicating that the market should be opened to private-sector competition, and eventually, foreign private-sector competition. It also investigated the level of satisfaction of the customers of the LIC. Inquisitively, the level of customer satisfaction seemed to be high.

In 1993, Malhotra Committee – headed by former Finance Secretary and RBI Governor Mr. R. N. Malhotra – was formed to evaluate the Indian insurance industry and recommend its future course. The Malhotra committee was set up with the aim of complementing the reforms initiated in the financial sector. The reforms were aimed at creating a more efficient and competitive financial system suitable for the needs of the economy keeping in mind the structural changes presently happening and recognizing that insurance is an important part of the overall financial system where it was necessary to address the need for similar reforms. In 1994, the committee submitted the report and some of the key recommendations included:

o Structure

Government bet in the insurance Companies to be brought down to 50{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056}. Government should take over the holdings of GIC and its subsidiaries so that these subsidiaries can act as independent corporations. All the insurance companies should be given greater freedom to operate.

Competition

Private Companies with a minimum paid up capital of Rs.1 billion should be allowed to enter the sector. No Company should deal in both Life and General Insurance through a single entity. Foreign companies may be allowed to enter the industry in collaboration with the domestic companies. Postal Life Insurance should be allowed to operate in the rural market. Only one State Level Life Insurance Company should be allowed to operate in each state.

o Regulatory Body

The Insurance Act should be changed. An Insurance Regulatory body should be set up. Controller of Insurance – a part of the Finance Ministry- should be made Independent.

o Investments

Compulsory Investments of LIC Life Fund in government securities to be reduced from 75{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} to 50{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056}. GIC and its subsidiaries are not to hold more than 5{512b763ef340c1c7e529c41476c7e03bc66d8daea696e1162822661d30dde056} in any company (there current holdings to be brought down to this level over a period of time).

o Customer Service

LIC should pay interest on delays in payments beyond 30 days. Insurance companies must be encouraged to set up unit linked pension plans. Computerization of operations and updating of technology to be carried out in the insurance industry. The committee accentuated that in order to improve the customer services and increase the coverage of insurance policies, industry should be opened up to competition. But at the same time, the committee felt the need to exercise caution as any failure on the part of new competitors could ruin the public confidence in the industry. Hence, it was decided to allow competition in a limited way by stipulating the minimum capital requirement of Rs.100 crores.

The committee felt the need to provide greater autonomy to insurance companies in order to improve their performance and enable them to act as independent companies with economic motives. For this purpose, it had proposed setting up an independent regulatory body – The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.

Reforms in the Insurance sector were initiated with the passage of the IRDA Bill in Parliament in December 1999. The IRDA since its incorporation as a statutory body in April 2000 has meticulously stuck to its schedule of framing regulations and registering the private sector insurance companies.

Since being set up as an independent statutory body the IRDA has put in a framework of globally compatible regulations. The other decision taken at the same time to provide the supporting systems to the insurance sector and in particular the life insurance companies was the launch of the IRDA online service for issue and renewal of licenses to agents. The approval of institutions for imparting training to agents has also ensured that the insurance companies would have a trained workforce of insurance agents in place to sell their products.

The Government of India liberalized the insurance sector in March 2000 with the passage of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) Bill, lifting all entry restrictions for private players and allowing foreign players to enter the market with some limits on direct foreign ownership. Under the current guidelines, there is a 26 percent equity lid for foreign partners in an insurance company. There is a proposal to increase this limit to 49 percent.

The opening up of the sector is likely to lead to greater spread and deepening of insurance in India and this may also include restructuring and revitalizing of the public sector companies. In the private sector 12 life insurance and 8 general insurance companies have been registered. A host of private Insurance companies operating in both life and non-life segments have started selling their insurance policies since 2001

Mukherjee Committee

Immediately after the publication of the Malhotra Committee Report, a new committee, Mukherjee Committee was set up to make concrete plans for the requirements of the newly formed insurance companies. Recommendations of the Mukherjee Committee were never disclosed to the public. But, from the information that filtered out it became clear that the committee recommended the inclusion of certain ratios in insurance company balance sheets to ensure transparency in accounting. But the Finance Minister objected to it and it was argued by him, probably on the advice of some of the potential competitors, that it could affect the prospects of a developing insurance company.

LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA ON REVISION OF THE INSURANCE ACT 1938 – 190th Law Commission Report

The Law Commission on 16th June 2003 released a Consultation Paper on the Revision of the Insurance Act, 1938. The previous exercise to amend the Insurance Act, 1938 was undertaken in 1999 at the time of enactment of the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority Act, 1999 (IRDA Act).

The Commission undertook the present exercise in the context of the changed policy that has permitted private insurance companies both in the life and non-life sectors. A need has been felt to toughen the regulatory mechanism even while streamlining the existing legislation with a view to removing portions that have become superfluous as a consequence of the recent changes.

Among the major areas of changes, the Consultation paper suggested the following:

a. merging of the provisions of the IRDA Act with the Insurance Act to avoid multiplicity of legislations;

b. deletion of redundant and transitory provisions in the Insurance Act, 1938;

c. Amendments reflect the changed policy of permitting private insurance companies and strengthening the regulatory mechanism;

d. Providing for stringent norms regarding maintenance of ‘solvency margin’ and investments by both public sector and private sector insurance companies;

e. Providing for a full-fledged grievance redressal mechanism that includes:

o The constitution of Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs) comprising one judicial and two technical members to deal with complaints/claims of policyholders against insurers (the GRAs are expected to replace the present system of insurer appointed Ombudsman);

o Appointment of adjudicating officers by the IRDA to determine and levy penalties on defaulting insurers, insurance intermediaries and insurance agents;

o Providing for an appeal against the decisions of the IRDA, GRAs and adjudicating officers to an Insurance Appellate Tribunal (IAT) comprising a judge (sitting or retired) of the Supreme Court/Chief Justice of a High Court as presiding officer and two other members having sufficient experience in insurance matters;

o Providing for a statutory appeal to the Supreme Court against the decisions of the IAT.

LIFE & NON-LIFE INSURANCE – Development and Growth!

The year 2006 turned out to be a momentous year for the insurance sector as regulator the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority Act, laid the foundation for free pricing general insurance from 2007, while many companies announced plans to attack into the sector.

Both domestic and foreign players robustly pursued their long-pending demand for increasing the FDI limit from 26 per cent to 49 per cent and toward the fag end of the year, the Government sent the Comprehensive Insurance Bill to Group of Ministers for consideration amid strong reservation from Left parties. The Bill is likely to be taken up in the Budget session of Parliament.

The infiltration rates of health and other non-life insurances in India are well below the international level. These facts indicate immense growth potential of the insurance sector. The hike in FDI limit to 49 per cent was proposed by the Government last year. This has not been operationalized as legislative changes are required for such hike. Since opening up of the insurance sector in 1999, foreign investments of Rs. 8.7 billion have tipped into the Indian market and 21 private companies have been granted licenses.

The involvement of the private insurers in various industry segments has increased on account of both their capturing a part of the business which was earlier underwritten by the public sector insurers and also creating additional business boulevards. To this effect, the public sector insurers have been unable to draw upon their inherent strengths to capture additional premium. Of the growth in premium in 2004-05, 66.27 per cent has been captured by the private insurers despite having 20 per cent market share.

The life insurance industry recorded a premium income of Rs.82854.80 crore during the financial year 2004-05 as against Rs.66653.75 crore in the previous financial year, recording a growth of 24.31 per cent. The contribution of first year premium, single premium and renewal premium to the total premium was Rs.15881.33 crore (19.16 per cent); Rs.10336.30 crore (12.47 per cent); and Rs.56637.16 crore (68.36 per cent), respectively. In the year 2000-01, when the industry was opened up to the private players, the life insurance premium was Rs.34,898.48 crore which constituted of Rs. 6996.95 crore of first year premium, Rs. 25191.07 crore of renewal premium and Rs. 2740.45 crore of single premium. Post opening up, single premium had declined from Rs.9, 194.07 crore in the year 2001-02 to Rs.5674.14 crore in 2002-03 with the withdrawal of the guaranteed return policies. Though it went up marginally in 2003-04 to Rs.5936.50 crore (4.62 per cent growth) 2004-05, however, witnessed a significant shift with the single premium income rising to Rs. 10336.30 crore showing 74.11 per cent growth over 2003-04.

The size of life insurance market increased on the strength of growth in the economy and concomitant increase in per capita income. This resulted in a favourable growth in total premium both for LIC (18.25 per cent) and to the new insurers (147.65 per cent) in 2004-05. The higher growth for the new insurers is to be viewed in the context of a low base in 2003- 04. However, the new insurers have improved their market share from 4.68 in 2003-04 to 9.33 in 2004-05.

The segment wise break up of fire, marine and miscellaneous segments in case of the public sector insurers was Rs.2411.38 crore, Rs.982.99 crore and Rs.10578.59 crore, i.e., a growth of (-)1.43 per cent, 1.81 per cent and 6.58 per cent. The public sector insurers reported growth in Motor and Health segments (9 and 24 per cent). These segments accounted for 45 and 10 per cent of the business underwritten by the public sector insurers. Fire and “Others” accounted for 17.26 and 11 per cent of the premium underwritten. Aviation, Liability, “Others” and Fire recorded negative growth of 29, 21, 3.58 and 1.43 per cent. In no other country that opened at the same time as India have foreign companies been able to grab a 22 per cent market share in the life segment and about 20 per cent in the general insurance segment. The share of foreign insurers in other competing Asian markets is not more than 5 to 10 per cent.

The life insurance sector grew new premium at a rate not seen before while the general insurance sector grew at a faster rate. Two new players entered into life insurance – Shriram Life and Bharti Axa Life – taking the total number of life players to 16. There was one new entrant to the non-life sector in the form of a standalone health insurance company – Star Health and Allied Insurance, taking the non-life players to 14.

A large number of companies, mostly nationalized banks (about 14) such as Bank of India and Punjab National Bank, have announced plans to enter the insurance sector and some of them have also formed joint ventures.

The proposed change in FDI cap is part of the comprehensive amendments to insurance laws – The Insurance Act of 1999, LIC Act, 1956 and IRDA Act, 1999. After the proposed amendments in the insurance laws LIC would be able to maintain reserves while insurance companies would be able to raise resources other than equity.

About 14 banks are in queue to enter insurance sector and the year 2006 saw several joint venture announcements while others scout partners. Bank of India has teamed up with Union Bank and Japanese insurance major Dai-ichi Mutual Life while PNB tied up with Vijaya Bank and Principal for foraying into life insurance. Allahabad Bank, Karnataka Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Dabur Investment Corporation and Sompo Japan Insurance Inc have tied up for forming a non-life insurance company while Bank of Maharashtra has tied up with Shriram Group and South Africa’s Sanlam group for non-life insurance venture.

CONCLUSION

It seems cynical that the LIC and the GIC will wither and die within the next decade or two. The IRDA has taken “at a snail’s pace” approach. It has been very cautious in granting licenses. It has set up fairly strict standards for all aspects of the insurance business (with the probable exception of the disclosure requirements). The regulators always walk a fine line. Too many regulations kill the motivation of the newcomers; too relaxed regulations may induce failure and fraud that led to nationalization in the first place. India is not unique among the developing countries where the insurance business has been opened up to foreign competitors.

The insurance business is at a critical stage in India. Over the next couple of decades we are likely to witness high growth in the insurance sector for two reasons namely; financial deregulation always speeds up the development of the insurance sector and growth in per capita GDP also helps the insurance business to grow.

The Great Masculine Renunciation of the 19th Century

There was an intense period of change in social, political, and fashion spheres during the 19th Century. Men increasingly adopted a penchant for dark coloured attire; most notably black emerged as a favoured choice of colour among all sectors of the male population. Trends in clothing towards functional simplicity became prominent in the early 1800s. The turn of the century also brought along an up-and-coming group of ultra-fashionable males known as ‘dandies’, the most renown being Beau Brummell. The de facto first English dandy said that pretentious apparel and the wearing of outstanding colours and fabrics for the purpose of drawing attention was an improper way to participate in society.

“Rather he should exercise rigorous restraint in his dress,” as Baudelaire suggests. Another important factor to consider is the bourgeois ethic which surfaced against a backdrop of gender equality struggle. Cultural theorist Flugel supports Baudelaire in his argument that there was a dramatic cutback in the male sartorial wardrobe. Men renounced the desire to be beautifully and elaborately dressed, endeavouring instead to be merely practical and functional. The emergence of the three-piece suit was an example of such changes in sartorial ideology. The austere and ascetic forms of sombre attire were deemed socially ‘correct’. The advancement of aesthetic fashion was left almost entirely to the female population.

In a previous era, royalty signalled their proximity to power through expensive jewels and fabrics. Later on, simplicity and minimalism became a fixture of American ideological discourse. The mass produced suit progressed to symbolise virtuous American polity. A very important phenomenon which took place during the great masculine renunciation was the transformation from brightly coloured sartorial garments to dark and undistinguished clothing. Black was originally only used for ecclesiastical attire or military uniforms. However by around 1830, black trousers and pantaloons were the rule. The result was a 19th Century that bore close resemblance to a perpetual funeral. Nevertheless, black was powerful. There was a close association of black dress with democracy, a bourgeois ethic, and potentially more equality between different classes through the elimination of individuality.

The key idea behind the great masculine renunciation is the desire by all to give an impression of sober propriety, an illusion for gaining respect. An important development which affected fashion was the Industrial Revolution. The inescapable fact of social emulation led to a copying in dress sense of families which prospered in manufacturing industries, caricatured as tall dingy men with a look of hostility behind black hair, clothes and faces. Moreover, clothes were made to a greater extent by machinery rather than labour, facilitated by the mechanization of the sewing machine; this instigated the standardization of male attire.

Breward points to the notion that during the great masculine renunciation, men embraced a sexual, psychological and physical release of the body from Victorian constraints, a denial of human nature. The endeavour for utility over style was predominantly caused by political changes in the period. The tendency towards more indistinctive dress was a result of a new ideal of work being respectable. Formerly, any forms of work connected with economic activities was shunned upon and considered as degrading to the dignity of those classes who chiefly set the fashion. The slogan of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” went against the decorative dress that was popular prior to the French Revolution. The democratization of clothes veered away from whimsical self-obsession towards greater social uniformity and consistency.

It is interesting to analyse the effects of the masculine renunciation on male psychology. The sacrifice of display although creating greater equality, denies men of their intrinsic narcissistic desires. Many men were investigated to be wholly dissatisfied with their costume range, dampening their exhibitionist love of self-display. This had been assumed to be potentially detrimental to certain social influences, such as sexual competition. However, eventually men accepted that the wearing of black actually became an advantage in the mating game. Black was deemed by Charles Darwin as a feature of sexual evolution. Even in modern times, black clothes are associated with having the ability to disguise fat and make the wearer appear thinner. Indeed, bright colours worn by men were and are still somewhat of a turnoff in the making of first impressions, especially with an underlying depiction of effeminacy. Even in present times, this trend is still noticeable. In Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, Mark Darcy becomes immediately unattractive to Bridget when they are first introduced because he is wearing a V-neck diamond-patterned sweater in shades of yellow, red and blue.

In the 19th Century, a group of ultra-fashionable men emerged, Beau Brummell taking the lead as one of the most renowned dandies. Other noticeable characters included Lord Byron, Charles Baudelaire, and Oscar Wilde. These men were famous for their appearance and their oppositional fashion, setting the standard that ultimately influenced public opinion on male fashion. The main idea was that the dandy must not in any way dress ostentatiously to draw attention. Instead, he must be constrained in what he wears, not flaunting individuality by wearing surprising combinations of clothes. English dandies wore only black, brown or grey and this minimalist approach paradoxically became its own characteristic. The refusal of polychromatic projection in favour of stiffness, tightness, unnaturalness and even pain was a distinguishing trait of the dandy’s beauty. The dandy’s achievement is simply to be himself. An air of unfeeling coolness with unshakeable willpower is related to the typical dandy – “a latent fire….that does not choose to burst into flame”.

The formal introduction of the three-piece suit arose in the 17th Century at the court of Charles II, deriving from a French model. Economic as well as political rivalry with the French was central to its introduction. The two main cuts of the 3 piece suit consist of the double-breasted suit and the single breasted suit on which the sides just meet at the front down a single row of buttons. As the sartorial excesses of macaronis came under attack in revolutionary criticism, a more simplistic fashion took over as the symbol of manliness, furthermore carrying political legitimacy. Opposition to luxury and effeminacy promoted rather than inhibited men’s style of display.

Many literary works have put a context to the occurrence of the great masculine renunciation. The beauty of black and a reserved appearance, and its play in human sexual selection, was astutely observed by Bronte. At a party given by Mr Rochester, Jane Eyre records that the collective appearance of the gentlemen is very imposing; they are all costumed in black. Jane Austen also worked with dark enigmatic characters, one of the first female novelists to deal with masculine reserve. Characters such as Mr Darcy, dressed in a sharp suit or in a morning coat, top hat and tails can plausibly be descendents of Beau Brummell’s elegance.

Although the great masculine renunciation had an immense impact on the way men dressed in the 19th Century, the descent of the ‘metro-sexual’ male of the 21st Century seems to be proliferating. Men like Beckham, Jude Law and Orlando Bloom have been named as metro-sexuals on the basis that they embrace fashion, skin-care, shopping, and other attributes associated with femininity. An overriding component of their work is underpinned by their appearance as opposed to their ability or productivity. Nevertheless, it would be altogether inappropriate to predict an abandonment of the suit as an essential part of a man’s wardrobe. As a consequence, absolute sartorial equality between men and women does not seem a likely scenario in the near future.

The great masculine renunciation can be distinctly defined by Flugel as a period of aesthetic rejection by men in pursuit of greater equality and democracy in society and respectability in the public sphere. The adoption of simplistic and undistinguished styles of dress and the wearing of black as a predominant choice of colour for both day and evening wear were significant effects of 19th Century fashion. It is not necessarily true that all forms of fashion were annihilated in the extreme manner of Flugel’s argument. His formulation does not exist without criticisms, such as the lack of empirical research across social classes.

Government Auto Auctions – Cars Under 500 Dollars?

Until recently, used car prices had been going through the roof. They started getting cheaper when gas headed toward $4 a gallon, and then when the credit crisis hit, and there were a lot of repos on the market, they got even cheaper. Now that gas is back down under $2, they’ve gone back up somewhat, but they’re still cheaper than a while back. Of course, “cheap” is a relative term, and one man’s bargain is another man’s extravagance. What if you need a car fast, and you only have five hundred bucks? I’d head for government auto auctions. Cars under 500 dollars are available there.

Now, don’t get me wrong. At government auto auctions, cars under 500 dollars aren’t a dime a dozen. They really aren’t even plentiful. But you stand a very good chance of finding one or two such bargains at any given government auction you attend. And, yes, I’m talking about cars that actually run and are street legal. Now, it’s probably going to be quite a it older than most cars on the street, but that’s no problem. If you’re really looking for a cheap car, you can forget about a late model one, anyway. Those will be snapped up by the dealers, and they’ll go for a lot more than 500 dollars.

That’s because they’re looking for cars that can be resold fast, which is late model cars in great condition. That’s why dealers attend government auto auctions. Cars under 500 dollars don’t interest them, because they’re going to be too old to have much of a market. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with a 500 dollar car you pick up at one of these. It will just be older than average, and probably not in tip top shape. But you can certainly find yourself a 500 dollar car that runs if you attend a few auctions.

The Influence of Bollywood on Hollywood Continues to Grow

Bollywood is the term given to movies in Hindi that are produced in Mumbai, India. It is a mixture of Bombay, which is what Mumbai used to be called, and Hollywood. For years, Bollywood cinema was largely ignored by the rest of the world outside of India and surrounding countries, but that is simply not the case anymore. Bollywood’s influence on Hollywood and other film making countries is now so strong that it can no longer be denied or ignored.

For years, the government of India forbade banks and other large investors from pouring money into film making, claiming it was not a real industry. Some aspiring directors who were fortunate enough to have some money would finance their own endeavors, but that was not an option for most. Instead, they looked towards smaller investors, which in some cases meant using crime syndicate money from underground gangs. The use of mob money to finance movies gave Bollywood a bad name, which is why so many in the western world dismissed the industry altogether for so many years.

In 2000, the Indian government finally lifted their ban on banks loaning money for films and recognized movie making as a viable industry. It didn’t happen overnight, but, after several months, some of the larger banks began investing in the industry, allowing Bollywood to distance itself from the illegal money. When this happened, more movies began production, and ticket sales and revenues shot to billions of dollars every year. Hollywood began to take notice, since some very influential filmmakers began to tell how past Bollywood films influenced their mainstream films.

One of the most famous directors to claim a Bollywood influence is Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, who won acclaim for “Moulin Rouge” in 2001. The musical was wildly successful, and it was influenced by the song and dance numbers that permeate Bollywood films. “Moulin Rouge” was such a hit that it spurred a renaissance of sorts in Hollywood for musicals. In the next few years, musicals like the Oscar-winning adaptation of “Chicago,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Rent,” and “The Producers” were all made into mainstream movies that earned big box office revenues. “Moulin Rouge” was widely credited with spurring this musical revival, with Bollywood being the inspiration to bring musicals back to western movie theaters. This is arguably the biggest contribution that Bollywood has made to the movie industry.

Bollywood also has a big influence over the financial aspect of the film industry. Once the Indian government allowed banks to finance films, the executives of the banks saw how profitable the films could be. With low production costs and high ticket sales, the profit margin was through the roof on many films, and bankers recognized the potential of the industry. Soon, they began to not only invest in Bollywood, but in Hollywood as well. Director M. Night Shyamalan, a native Indian who was raised in the United States, got roughly half the financing for “The Happening” from Indian banks. This kind of deal could easily be made with other directors who are willing to take an unconventional route to get their films financed. This type of arrangement would never have happened unless the Indian bankers saw the potential in film through Bollywood.

Since money is the bottom line for many Hollywood executives, they have paid close attention over the years to the disparity between ticket sales for Bollywood films versus Hollywood films. In an average year, Bollywood films sell around 3.6 billion tickets, while Hollywood sells just 2.6 billion. Granted, the price of Hollywood tickets is higher, so revenue is much higher as well. The cost of the average United States-produced movie is around $50 million, whereas the average Indian film has a cost of just $1.5 million. With such a high profit margin, film executives in other countries clamor to see how they can lower costs on their films and sell a billion more tickets each year like Bollywood does.

Between the musical productions, changes in financing, and the huge audience, Bollywood’s influence over the rest of the movie making world, especially Hollywood, continues to grow. It remains to be seen if more filmmakers will do what Shyamalan did and co-finance future film projects with money from Indian investors. Films like “Iron Man 3” are already getting half of their financing from China, so it could only be a matter of time before India is in the mix more often. If that does happen, then Bollywood’s influence on the film industry may very well be complete.

How to Layout an Effective Palm Card Design For Your Political Campaign

The ultimate goal of your palm card layout and design is to deliver a candidate image and message that is clear and consistent to voters. Also called push cards, palm cards are an effective form of campaign advertisement. You should communicate your main talking points as well as background, education and such other relevant information all while being visually appealing to your desired demographic.

Designing a campaign palm card consists of several facets. First is the use of color. When ordering your push cards, remember to use the colors that are specific to your campaign. Red, white and blue are traditionally the most popular colors among political hopefuls, but if you have a pre-existing color scheme use those colors.

This leads us into our second design point; be consistent. Do not change your color scheme or election slogan halfway through the campaign. It is important to be consistent with all of your campaign materials in regards to color, font and style of design. When building a campaign image, or brand if you will, uniformity is key to accomplishing this successfully.

Third, choose palettes of colors that are complementary to each other. In the age of digital printing, voters expect to see full color printing, and an appealing palm card. Be creative with your color choices. Also make the text, especially your name, easy to read. Your name should be the first thing that the voter sees in respect to your push card. The font you select should be clear and large. Gothic and fancy script-type fonts should be avoided due to their lack of clarity.

The fourth facet of designing your campaign palm card is presenting your message. Make sure your message is clear and simple. Don’t confuse your voters by throwing legal jargon or complex phrases at them. Use simple words and concise sentences to get your point across. There should be a natural flow of information that is easy to follow. Remember, if the voter does not read your message, you have wasted your time and money.

Pictures are an essential staple to have on your palm card. It is important to have a headshot of the front on your palm card so your voter can put a face with a name. For local offices, this may be the only time the voter sees you. You might also include a nice family photo on your palm card under the family section. If available, include some action shots of the candidate in the community. Choose the best quality pictures available. Most printers will not accept anything less than 300 dpi at print size (4″ x 6″). If you are unsure about the terminology used here, your photographer or printer should be able to help you. Remember, a picture is worth 1000 words!

There are many layout and design options available when designing your push card, but you must take your quantity of information into account when deciding which layout works best for you.

Caregivers Confusion: Explaining "In Home Care" to Caregivers

Many of us speak of obtaining care for our loved ones or clients so that they can remain in their homes. This is the ideal setting for people in most circumstances.

The concept of “in home” care has gained universal awareness and acceptance. Indeed, the term “home care” has become a part of our vernacular or lexicon. We use the term “home care” to represent all services that an individual may receive while living at home. This is like saying that all facial tissues are Kleenex brand or all cotton swabs are q-tips.

When determining the appropriate type of care for home based services, the overarching question goes first to client choice and then, immediately to the payer source.

“Home care” is a fee for service, out of pocket, expense which is the responsibility of the person receiving those benefits. Under a true “home care” plan, the client, patient (or their caregiver) is the person who decides when, where and how much service shall be offered.

“Home health care” is government subsidized care, typically through medicare or medicaid and, in some instances, some private insurance companies. Under “home health care”, the “government” essentially, makes the determination as to when, where and how much care a person will be eligible to receive before they are required to reach into their own pocket.

There are three basic levels of care that are provided under in home services: companion, personal and skilled.

Companion care is typically non-physical contact by the provider and is typically thought of as “sitting” services. Companion care is provided by non-licensed personnel who receive basic training from the agency they are employed with. Services offered under this heading may include but need not be limited to: meal planning, lighthouse keeping, general companionship (companion/sitter)

Personal care includes all of the elements of companion care but may go further to include limited physical contact and work with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, grooming), transferring, stand by assist with walking. This level of care is typically provided by nurse assistants.

Skilled care is more invasive medical treatment. It includes general medical assessment and treatment. Typically, licensed providers are the only individuals providing skilled care. Here is where we may see therapy and medications administered.

A comprehensive care plan must consider the specific care needed, services available through home health care and, finally, the supplementation of care through home care services.