Insurance staff take to the streets in Kalyana Karnataka

As part of a nation-wide strike called by the Joint Forum of Trade Unions in LIC opposing the Union government’s decision to list LIC in the stock markets through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the insurance sector to 74% from 49%, over a thousand employees working in different branches of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) in Kalyana Karnataka boycotted their work and joined the protests on Thursday.

Organised under the banner of the Insurance Employees Union (IEU), the employees staged demonstrations outside their branches in Raichur, Kalaburagi, Hosapete, Koppal, Ballari, Sindhanur and other places.

“As proposed in its recent budget, the Union government has decided to list LIC in the stock markets through an IPO and increase FDI in the insurance sector to 74% from 49%.

Both the decisions are not in national interest as they would definitely speed up the process of privatisation of the insurance sector,” Gururaj, a representative of LIC Class I Officers Union, said in Raichur during the agitation.

“The very purpose of establishing LIC was to raise resources for faster industrialisation of the country by collecting small savings in the form of premiums while giving utmost security to the policyholders. LIC has been very successful in meeting these objectives. Disinvestment in LIC is the first step towards privatisation. Therefore, LIC IPO would defeat the very objectives of its creation,” M. Ravi, president of Insurance Employees Union, said. M. Sharangouda, A. Sridhar, V.H. Gugawad, Salauddin, Sharanabasava and other leaders spoke, opposing the government’s move. In Ballari, hundreds of employees, including Class I officers, development officers and agents, working with a local LIC branch boycotted their work to stage a demonstration outside their branch in the morning.

“LIC has nearly 35 crore individual policyholders. Its total investments in the Indian economy have been over ₹30 lakh crore. It has been promoting social welfare through investments in infrastructure and social sectors. It has paid a cumulative dividend of ₹28,000 crore to the government since 1956 and ₹2,698 crore in 2019-20. If it is listed in the stock markets, it will no longer remain a permanent resource that has been contributing to the welfare of the people and development of the country as it will have to be profit-oriented to satisfy its shareholders. It will have to target big policies which bring greater profits and, in the process, small size policies which the poor, vulnerable and lower-middle classes purchase will no longer be attractive. The social objective of providing insurance cover to the weaker sections of society will receive a setback,” said D.V. Suryanarayan, convenor of Insurance Employees Union at LIC Branch 2 in Ballari.

Abdul Khadeer, Pratap Kumar, Shashidhar, Dattatreya and other leaders were present.

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