LIC officers, employees oppose IPO, hike in FDI

Opposing the Union government’s decision to list Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in the stock market through an IPO, the decision to increase FDI limits in the insurance sector to 74% from 49% and privatise one public sector general insurance company, the employees and officers of LIC observed a one-day strike in Dharwad on Thursday in response to a nation-wide strike call.

LIC employees, officials and also former employees staged a demonstration in front of the divisional office of LIC in Dhawad and vehemently opposed the Union government’s move. Raising slogans against the Centre, they said that selling shares of LIC was nothing but snatching savings of commoners and filling the coffers of a few.

The speakers addressing the protestors said that LIC belonged to the people of India and hence, the sale of its shares would mean depriving the people of “their jewel”.

They said that LIC had grown a lot in the last 64 years from an initial investment of ₹5 crore by the government in 1956. Mentioning the contribution of LIC in nation building, they said that at present LIC’s assets had crossed ₹32 lakh crore.

They said that LIC had been a lifeline 24 x 7 not only for the government but also for the share market and many a company had survived in the market thanks to LIC. Disinvestment in such an institution would mean a lethal blow to the country as it was only LIC which had penetrated rural India, they said.

Terming the IPO as a first step towards privatisation, they said that when IPO of nationalised banks was initiated, the people of the country were told that it was not privatisation and banks would not be privatised. But now the government had announced the decision to privatise public sector banks. It had now been revealed that barring six, all other public sector banks would be privatised, they said. They said that the decision to increase FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) to 74% would be dangerous for the Indian economy.

Krishna Anvatti, Secretary of Federation of LIC Class I Officers Association, Dharwad; Laxmikant A. Naik, Secretary, National Federation of Insurance Field Workers of India, Dharwad, and Uday Gadagkar General Secretary, Insurance Employees Union, Dharwad (AIIEA), and union leaders, including B.N. Poojari, C.M. Sambrani, A.M. Khan, and others led the protest. The protestors urged the Union government to rescind its decision on LIC IPO and the decision on increasing FDI limit.

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