Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee | 9.8.18



First week of September is observed as Insurance week to commemorate the foundation of Life Insurance Corporation of India- LIC.

Insurance in India, according to the writings of Yagnavalkya and Kautilya, dates back to ancient times. Fragments of these works indicate an ancient system that pooled resources and distributed them during catastrophic times such as floods, famine, fire, or epidemics. These roots eventually evolved after having borrowed from other countries, particularly England.

1818 marked the arrival of the life insurance business in the country, when the Oriental Life Insurance Company was established in the then capital of India, Calcutta. Gradually, the life insurance business flourished, with foreign insurance offices having an upper hand.

Post-Independence, with unfair trade practices seeping into the industry, the newly-formed government resolved to nationalize the insurance business. Resultantly, Life Insurance Corporation- LIC was established on 1 September 1956 to subsume almost all 200 plus existing Indian and foreign insurance companies operating in India into a single entity with the objective of spreading life insurance much more widely and in particular to the rural areas with a view to reach all insurable persons in the country, providing them adequate financial cover at a reasonable cost. The government provided Rs 5 Crore to the newly formed corporation as the seed capital. LIC grew phenomenally.

To further the benefits of the liberalisation policy initiated in 1991, the government reopened the doors for private insurers in the late 90s. Today, with about 24 Life and 31 General insurers, the Indian insurance industry is doing pretty well and is regulated by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).

However, LIC is going steady. It is occupying over 60 per cent of the Insurance market of India. It earned a total investment income of Rs 1,80,117 crore during the financial year 2016-17. The market value of LIC’s total investment grew 17.08 per cent at the end of FY17 at Rs 24,69,589 crore (provisional) from Rs 21,09,253 crore a year ago.

The Insurance Industry, especially LIC is assisting the Government realize a number of development goals apart from helping thousands of households deal with financial emergencies. LIC often plays a major role in keeping the market stable.

The Lure of Sarkari Naukri

50,000 graduates,28,000 post graduates and over 3700 PhD scholars apply for 62 posts of peon-messenger in UP- screams the headlines. The graduates include B.Tech and MBA.

What is the job?

“The job is like that of a post man’s and the person has to deliver police telecom department’s messages from one office to the other”.

What is the salary?

It pays about Rs 20,000/- a month.

The situation is same all over the country. From Odisha to Bengal, from MP to AP- there is a rush for ‘sarkari naukri’ practically in every state.

It seems everybody loves a sarkari naukri. Why? Is it because of the security a ‘government service’  provides. Or, the perceived absence of accountability?  Or, the social acceptability? Or, the perceived lure of extra income? Or the power associated with a government job?

This indicates to the fact that the government still remains the mai-bap. Government service is still a key to be a babu– a master, a ladder to step up in social hierarchy and to gain social prestige.

Tailpiece 1: Krishna

During Janmastami I saw many ladies smilingly dressing up their kids like Krishna- with the peacock feather as head gear and flute in hand. But they do not tolerate their husbands even slightly showing the trademark traits of Krishna. This is sheer injustice!

Tailpiece 2: Missed Gold Medals

We missed 4 possible Gold Medals in the recently concluded Asiad Games in Jakarta.


1) Baba Ramdev for Gymnastics.


2) Salman Khan for Shooting


3) Vijay Mallya for Long Jump, and


4) Arnab Goswami for ‘Discuss’

(Courtesy: Social Media)


Mrinal Chatterjee, a journalist-turned-media academician lives in Central Odisha town of Dhenkanal. He along with Snehasis Sur is compiling and editing an anthology of lectures and essays on ‘Gandhi as a Journalist and Editor’, which is due for publication by October 2018.

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