At a wedding reception recently, a friend’s daughter, who just got her first job, wandered over to where us oldies were huddled. Aunty, I, like, wanted to chat about this SIP (systematic investment plan) thingie? Whenever you have the time, whatever? Another friend, not known for being sane, who lives consultancy cheque to consultancy cheque and regularly blows up her bank account on mad-hatter trips, worked with me over three afternoons to set up her SIP accounts through her online bank account. “I just totally have to get this SIP thing going—it is so cool!”
Do we see representatives of trade unions and other such organized labour unions come out on the street in “national interest”? Do they threaten to strike work if rapists are not brought to book? Do they burn effigies of airline owners who owe banks millions of rupees and don’t pay their employees for months, while they vacation in their yachts and buy super-expensive stuff for aspiring offspring? Nope. But try doing something that will enhance efficiency, reduce corruption and increase consumer protection in any industry controlled by these unions and see them pour out on the streets to protest. The red rag of higher foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance was waved in the budget and as the Bill struggles to get passed, the political parties against the legislation have cranked up the organized protests. Trade unions, insurance staff and the Communist Party of India (CPI) have all been active in the past week threatening strikes and worse if the Bill that allows foreigners a 49% stake in insurance companies, up from 26% now, goes through.