LIC not to seek Aadhaar details for online access

Top official of the insurance firm says it was inadvertently done

The Life Insurance Corporation of India on Friday said they will remove the mandatory requirement of providing Aadhaar number for customers to access their policy pages, saying it was “inadvertently done”.

The move comes after The Hindu on Thursday pointed out how the insurance company was forcing people to update their Aadhaar number and PAN on their login page to access their policy pages and other details.

Replying to an email sent to the Chairman on Thursday, the Executive Director Corporate Communications, LIC, said the earlier website was available without requesting the Aadhaar number.

“Subsequent to the migration to a new portal, the LIC has planned to extend the range of facilities offered to our customers online,” the Executive Director said.

“Keeping in mind that data security and privacy are of paramount importance and also abiding by the Regulator’s directives, we have sought additional information from the customer to establish his online credentials. In the process, seeking of Aadhaar number, PAN details mandatorily was inadvertently done,” the official said.

The official added that the issue has been escalated with their technical team and “we will be removing the requirements of the mandatory providing of Aadhaar number and PAN”. However, the official has not specified a date by which this would be done.

Like a firewall

The mandatory requirements on the site acted like a firewall preventing access to a customer’s policy pages if they didn’t provide the Aadhaar number and PAN details. Legal experts feel that the move is in violation of the Supreme Court interim order extending the deadline of customers providing Aadhaar number for services to March 31. Subsequent to this interim order, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDA) issued a circular to all insurance companies with the new deadline.

Many customers had raised objections regarding this move of LIC on Twitter. Some customers whom The Hindu spoke to had said they were forced to part with their Aadhaar number as they could not access their pages.

Keeping in mind that data security and privacy are of paramount importance, we sought additional information from the customer

Executive Director Corporate Communications, LIC

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Now, Aadhaar mandatory to access LIC policy online

Raises questions about violation of SC orders and insurance regulator’s norms

Despite the government extending the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various services to March 31, 2018, many insurance companies are insisting that customers part with their Aadhaar details for accessing their services.

Principal among such insurers is the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), whose newly designed web portal requires mandatory registration of policy holders’ Aadhaar details to even access their own policy pages. It also seems to be the first instance of its kind when access to a web page is denied for want of Aadhaar details.

If a customer doesn’t update his or her Aadhaar number upon signing in, they will not be able to move to their policy page to access their payment history, policy documents or any other details on the LIC’s website. LIC’s insistence on Aadhaar to even access the policy page on its website violates the spirit of both the Supreme Court’s orders and the insurance regulator’s circular on the deadline, say legal experts. “This is worse than a paywall. It is an act of coercion,” said a leading lawyer who didn’t wish to be identified. The Prevention of Money Laundering (Seventh Amendment) Rules, 2017, extending the Aadhaar deadline to the end of March, was notified on December 13. Following this, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) issued a notification to that effect.

Users complain

Several people who spoke to The Hindu said they were unable to log on to their own profile page to access their insurance premium records on LIC’s website without linking their policies with their Aadhaar numbers.

Policy-holder Prasanto K. Roy said since he had to download his policy receipts, he had no other way out but to submit his Aadhaar number to access his account. R. Steve Wilfred too faced the same issue. “It was my mom’s LIC account. The Aadhaar and PAN details are not updated with LIC. But my sister did update her account to pay the premium,” Mr. Wilfred said.

When the issue was raised by The Hindu with a top official at LIC on Tuesday ,the official said he needed to consult with superiors on the issue and would revert in a day.

However, a day later no reply was received. An email to IRDA Chairman on Tuesday did not elicit a reply till the time of going to press.

Some other insurance companies are also turning a blind eye to the norm, claim many citizens who have faced such hurdles of late. This is not limited to life insurance, but is also seen among holders of health, motor and travel insurance policies as well.

Customers cite the IRDA guidelines that say that “the date of submission of the Aadhaar Number and Permanent Account Number or Form 60 by the clients to the reporting entity is 31st March, 2018 or six months from the date of commencement of account based relationship.” Yet, without any update being provided to them by their insurance companies, they are being forced to link Aadhaar even when the Supreme Court is yet to give a final decision on the issue, they say.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Now summons will be sent via SMS

The police, as part of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), have launched the facility to serve summons to witnesses through Short Messaging Service (SMS) on mobile phones.

The state police successfully implemented the CCTNS mission mode project under National e-Governance programme in all the 1,913 FIR registering units of the Tamil Nadu police and could be accessed by the citizens through the TN police website (https://eservices.tnpolice.gov.in) or at Common Servicing Centres (CSCs).

Assistance

On receipt of the summons from the court for the appearance of witnesses, entries will be made in the CCTNS system developed by State Crime Record Bureau. The SMS will have details including name of the police station, crime number, name of the court where the witness has to appear, date and time of appearance and contact numbers of the police station to get assistance. Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami launched this facility recently.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Bar Council election under scanner

Advocate General wants to dissociate himself from process, fears it could be tainted by questionable practices

Advocate General Vijay Narayan has written to the Bar Council of India (BCI) accusing senior counsel S. Prabhakaran, “who styles himself as BCI co-chairman, a post not sanctioned by law” of attempting to thwart efforts to conduct free and fair elections to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (BCTP). The BCTP is now administered by a Special Committee.

Mr. Narayan, who is the ex-officio chairman of the Special Committee, said it would not be proper on his part to associate the office of the Advocate General “in an election which may be tainted by certain questionable practices”. He urged the BCI to decide whether it would be expedient to appoint a retired Madras High Court judge, in consultation with the Chief Justice, to oversee the entire electoral process.

“While I am prepared to carry out the day-to-day functions of the Bar Council… I would like to dissociate myself from the entire process of conducting the election,” he said in the letter addressed to BCI chairman Mannan Kumar Misra.

“I think that the advocates of Tamil Nadu have the right to know the true state of affairs,” the letter said.

Recalling past events, he said that many State-level bar councils, including the BCTP, were at present administered by special committees as there were delays in conducting elections for them due to various reasons.

‘Backdoor entry’

Around 52,000 advocates are members of the BCTP. The BCI initially nominated BCTP’s outgoing chairman D. Selvam and vice-chairman as members of the special committee.

Almost all other outgoing office-bearers were made members of an ad hoc committee. “I found this a little surprising since this appeared to be a backdoor entry for all the old bar council members,” the AG said.

However, all those nominees tendered resignations after the Madras High Court ordered that those who intend to contest in the forthcoming elections to the BCTP should not continue as committee members. Mr. Prabhakaran alone continued in office since he happened to be a member nominated by the BCTP to the BCI.

After the resignations, the BCI nominated senior counsel R. Singaravelan and advocate Chandrasekharan as members to the Special Committee. Mr. Narayan felt they were acting at the behest of Mr. Prabhakaran, “a candidate for the forthcoming election.”

‘Reforms needed’

The two advocates were nominated without consulting either him or the Chief Justice. Mr. Narayan said they were now thwarting attempts made by him to conduct the elections within the deadline fixed by the Supreme Court. He said that the two members had recently overruled his decision against delaying the elections to the BCTP.

Regulatory body

To have a regulatory body comprising reputed and honourable advocates is the need of the hour, he said.

He accused a vociferous minority of effectively stalling urgent reforms that is needed for the legal profession much to the detriment of the silent majority.

Judicial structure

“The entire judicial structure of the country is manned by persons who are drawn from only one source, namely lawyers, and unless systemic changes are made urgently, it does not bode well for the country itself,” Mr. Narayan said.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Big rush for jallikattu registration

Bull tamers lathicharged; over 1,000 register at Palamedu

With the jallikattu scheduled for Sunday and Monday respectively at Avaniyapuram and Palamedu in Madurai district, registration for bulls witnessed a huge turnout of youngsters, hailing not only from Madurai but many neighbouring districts as well, on the first day on Thursday.

At Palamedu, the district police had to resort to lathicharge in the morning as a swelling crowd, in their tussle to register at the earliest, broke some barricades erected near the registration area and created a stampede-like situation near the counters.

Several youngsters sustained injuries in the lathicharge. N. Rajapandi from Vadipatti, who had come to register for the event, alleged that the chaos was created by a rumour that only a limited number of bull tamers would be allowed to register. Officials from Vadipatti Taluk, who handled the registration, said a total of 1,188 persons registered on Thursday, while 312 were rejected by medical teams.

Basic check-up

“We had deployed people to fill up the forms for the bull tamers, who were asked to bring valid identity proofs. A medical team carried out a basic check-up, which included body mass index (BMI) and pressure,” an official said, adding that another round of thorough check-up, including that of checking whether the person is under the influence of alcohol, would be done just before the event.

At Avaniyapuram, however, no medical check-up was done during registration on Thursday since the turnout was relatively less than Palamedu. A total of 623 bull tamers registered there.

“Since the registration happened at Palamedu also on the same day, many had to choose between the two. We enrolled all those who came with a valid identity proof and in the age limit of 20 to 40. We omitted medical check-up since it will anyway happen before the event,” said an official from Madurai South Taluk, who handled the registration.

Registration of bulls was handled by personnel from the Department of Animal Husbandry at Avaniyapuram. A doctor associated with the department said,“A picture of the bull taken with its owner or handler has to be produced. On the day of jallikattu, the bull will be allowed to enter vaadivasal only if the accompanying person in the photograph is present,” he said, adding that 954 bulls were registered on Thursday. Another fitness check will be done for bulls prior to the event.

Registration for Alanganallur jallikattu, the most famous among the three places, scheduled for Tuesday, is yet to begin.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

R.S. Puram police station inspector meets CM

R.S. Puram police station inspector meets CM

R.S. Puram police station inspector T. Jothi met Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at the Secretariat on Tuesday, after winning the best police station award in the country from Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a function held in Gwalior a few days ago.

Police sources said he showed the prize to the Chief Minister and obtained his wishes. Senior police officials were also present.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

No change in H-1B rules: U.S.

‘No modification being considered’

The U.S. has no plans under consideration to discontinue the extension of H-1B visas beyond six years, when beneficiaries apply for permanent residency — green card — authorities clarified on Monday.

A spokesperson of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which administers the non-immigrant, temporary worker visa programme, said in a statement: “USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the six-year limit.” ‘AC-21’ or the ‘American Competitiveness in the Twenty First Century Act’ is the law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2000, which also governs the extension of H-1B visas.

“Even if it were (considering changes to section 104-c), such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC-21 instead,” Jonathan Withington, chief of media relations for USCIS, told The Hindu .

The section on three-year extensions uses the word ‘may’ which could allow some discretion by the executive but there is a separate section in the same Act that allows one-year extensions in which the executive has no discretion.

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

MHA ranks Coimbatore’s R.S. Puram police station as No. 1 in the country

R.S. Puram Police station (B-2) credited another golden feather in the cap of Coimbatore City Police when it was ranked as the best police station in the country in the category of SMART Police Stations, an initiative by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Station House Officer T. Jothi, inspector (law and order), received the award from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the all India conference of Director Generals/Inspector Generals of Police held at BSF Academy Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday.

The Anna Nagar Police station is the only other station, which ranked fifth, selected from the State in an all-India exercise the Home Ministry conducted recently. Panjagutta police station in Telangana and Gudumba police station in Lucknow bagged second and third rank.

SMART Police (S-Sensitive and Strict; M-Modern with mobility; A- Alert and Accountable; R- Reliable and Responsive; T- Trained and Techno-savvy) concept was announced by Prime Minister at the the 49th annual conference Directors General/Inspectors General held in Guwahati in November, 2014.

Sources said following instructions from the State police headquarters, the Coimbatore City Police sent a file containing the initiatives it had taken in the past for effective and friendly policing. Based on the proposal a Home Ministry team visited the city and interacted with people who fell under the police jurisdiction limits.

Some of the parameters considered for the assessment include rate of crime detection, execution of warrants, recovery of properties, enforcement of local laws and special acts, preventive arrests and detention under Goondas Act.

Other suggested features of a SMART Police Stations as envisaged by the MHA are basic amenities for visitors, waiting area, toilets, drinking water, receptionist, rest room for constables including separate room for women constables, natural lighting and ventilation, solar lighting, energy saving features, CCTV, safe and secure armoury, record room, communication room for wireless, computers, automated kiosks for filing of complaints by public (with a back-end system for tracking follow up action).

Ref : The Hindu | Know More

Strike for nominal demands can’t be countenanced: HC

Directs agitators to get back to work

While directing striking transport corporation employees to return to work, the Madras High Court on Friday made it clear that boycotting work to press for nominal demands cannot be countenanced.

Observing that employees were entitled to air their legitimate grievances, a bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose said: “However, strike calls on issues such as this to press nominal demands of about ₹600 per month (more than what the State had agreed to offer) or so cannot be countenanced.”

The judges added that the State was bound to protect the right of free movement of citizens and it could do so only through the transport corporation workers. “Innumerable office-goers, students and other service providers avail of public transport to attend to their duties. Disruption of transport services would affect students and also others.

“Recourse to lightning strikes and/or flash strikes without notice leads to the consequence of denying the citizens of their right to free movement and is clearly illegal and against public interest,” the first Division Bench said and ordered notices returnable by Monday to all the trade unions that had given the strike call.

During the course of the hearing of the case, Advocate General Vijay Narayan said the wages for transport corporation employees were revised once in three years though such exercise was carried out once in four years with respect to other pubic sector undertakings and once in 10 years in so far as government employees were concerned.

Pointing out that a wage settlement reached on September 1, 2013 was in force till August 31, 2016, the AG said the government had held 12 sittings for deciding the latest pay revision and finally a settlement was signed by 32 trade unions on Thursday. However, a minority of 14 unions refused to sign the settlement.

Highest increase

Mr. Narayan contended that the latest wage settlement provided the highest increase in salary compared to previous settlements. He said the wage increase given to bus drivers varied from ₹2,684 to ₹10,322 per month depending upon the length of service. Similarly, the hike for bus conductors varied between ₹2,706 and ₹11,361 a month.

In case of technical staff, the increase was between ₹2,531 and ₹11,948 and for the administrative staff it was from 2,531 to 12,566 per month. It was also decided in the settlement talks that the pay scale for newly recruited drivers would be increased from 6,900 to 17,700.

The AG said: “Seventy per cent of workers have accepted the wage revision. The rest cannot be allowed to hold the public to ransom because transportation is an essential service.”

Ref : The Hindu | Read More

Rajinikanth launches website after announcing political entry

People can register on his site with their names and EPIC voter ID details, the actor said.

A day after announcing his political entry, Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth on Monday launched a website and an app on the Google Play store to enrol members for his proposed political party.

In a short video posted on his Twitter account, the actor seated on a sofa, in front of a large photo frame with the yoga mudra made famous by him in the movie ‘Baba’ placed on top a lotus leaf, appealed to people to register themselves on the website to “bring a good political change in Tamil Nadu”. He thanked those who welcomed his entry into politics.

“We have to bring under one umbrella all my registered fan club members, unregistered fan club members, and those who are looking to bring a change in Tamil Nadu’s politics,” he said that he has started a website rajinimandra.org on which people register with their name and Voter ID number, and become a member. “Let’s bring a good political change in Tamil Nadu,” he said before signing off.

A message posted on the registration page on the website read, “This website will function as a tool to exchange information and also bring together people who want a good change in politics in Tamil Nadu”.

Minutes later, an app with the same name was made available on the Google Play store, for people to download and register themselves.

VM Sudhakar, president of All India Rajinikanth Fans Association, told The Hindu, that the website and the app was a way to integrate all the fans’ clubs members. The association tweeted that @Rajni_FC was the official handle of the fans association.

A member of the actor’s fan club since the 1980s, said that all fans will involve themselves completely in the actor’s political journey. “He has now committed himself fully to politics. He will not go back on that,” he said.

According to him, there are about 50,000 registered fan clubs for Mr. Rajinikanth. “The last club that was registered was in the early 90s’. After that, a lot of fan clubs came up, many abroad as well, as our Thalaivar gets about 40% of business from abroad,” he said.

The total fan clubs would now be around 75,000 with each club having at least 25 members. “So we have access to so many members ready to take on Thalaivar’s political plunge,” he said adding that if the actor had entered politics in 1996, there would have been few votes only in each family going to him.

“Now, all these families have fans across all age groups. People in my age group have sons and daughters who are married. So, if you take both sides’ families, the number will be around 20-30 who will vote for him. We will ensure he definitely wins the elections,” he claimed.

Ends.

Ref  : The Hindu | Read More