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March 11, 2021
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March 13, 2021
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12th March Current Affairs

Insurance ombudsman

In News:

The government has amended insurance ombudsman rules.

As per the new rules:

  • Insurance brokers are now covered under ombudsman rules.
  • Policyholders are now allowed to file online complaints.
  • The scope of complaints has been enlarged to ombudsmen from only disputes earlier to deficiencies in service on the part of insurers, agents, brokers and other intermediaries.
  • The ombudsman may use video-conferencing for hearings.

About Insurance Ombudsman:

The Insurance Ombudsman scheme was created by the Government of India for individual policyholders to have their complaints settled out of the courts system in a cost-effective, efficient and impartial way.

Who can approach?

Any person who has a grievance against an insurer, may himself or through his legal heirs, nominee or assignee, make a complaint in writing to the Insurance ombudsman.

One can approach the Ombudsman with complaint only if:

One has first approached insurance company with the complaint and;

  • They have rejected it
  • Not resolved it to satisfaction or
  • Not responded to it at all for 30 days

And the value of the claim including expenses claimed should not be above Rs 30 lakhs.

Appointment of Ombudsman:

The Ombudsman is a person in the insurance industry, civil or judicial services, and is appointed by the insurance council.

The serving term of the Insurance Ombudsman is three years.

The settlement process:

Recommendation:

The Ombudsman will act as mediator and

  • Arrive at a fair recommendation based on the facts of the dispute
  • If you accept this as a full and final settlement, the Ombudsman will inform the company which should comply with the terms in 15 days.

Award:

If a settlement by recommendation does not work, the Ombudsman will Pass an award within 3 months of receiving all the requirements from the complainant and which will be binding on the insurance company.

Once the Award is passed:

The Insurer shall comply with the award within 30 days of the receipt of award and intimate the compliance of the same to the Ombudsman.

National Population Register

In News:

The Registrar-General of India (RGI) is preparing to conduct field trials of the first phase of the Census and the National Population Register (NPR) using a mobile application in all the States and Union Territories.

The app will contain questionnaires on house listing and housing census and the NPR.

What is National Population Register (NPR)?

It is a Register of usual residents of the country.

It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.

Objective: To create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.

The NPR was first collected in 2010 and then updated in 2015.

Who is a usual resident?

A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.

U.S. thinktank report classifies India as ‘partly free’

In News:

The report “Freedom in the World 2021: Democracy under Siege” was recently released by US think-tank Freedom House.

Key findings:

Freedoms in India have reduced resulting in India being classified as ‘partly free’.

India’s score was 67, a drop from 71/100 from last year downgrading it from the free category last year.

Reasons for the downgrade: The government and its State-level allies continued to crack down on critics during the year.

The private media are vigorous and diverse, and investigations and scrutiny of politicians do occur. However, attacks on press freedom have escalated dramatically under the Modi government, and reporting has become significantly less ambitious in recent years.

Security, defamation, sedition and contempt of court laws have been used to quiet critical media voices.

Revelations of close relationships between politicians, business executives and lobbyists on one hand and leading media personalities and owners of media outlets, on the other, have dented public confidence in the press.

Freedom in US and China:

The U.S. dropped three points over one year, down to 83/100.

The United States will need to work vigorously to strengthen its institutional safeguards, restore its civic norms and uphold the promise of its core principles.

China, classified as ‘not free’, dropped a point from last year going down to 9/100.

The malign influence of the regime in China, the world’s most populous dictatorship, was especially profound in 2020.

About the Report:

Since 1973, Freedom House has assessed the condition of political rights and civil liberties around the world. It is used on a regular basis by policymakers, journalists, academics, activists, and many others.

How are the countries ranked?

The report’s methodology is derived in large measure from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948.

Freedom in the World assesses the real-world rights and freedoms enjoyed by individuals, rather than governments or government performance per se.

What topics do the scores cover?

  • Electoral Process.
  • Political Pluralism and Participation.
  • Functioning of Government.
  • Freedom of Expression and Belief.
  • Associational and Organizational Rights.
  • Rule of Law.
  • Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights.