Insurance sector Current Affairs
State-owned India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) and private life insurer Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co Ltd (BALIC) have entered into strategic partnership to provide life insurance solutions. It will allow IPPB customers across segments to access wide array of life insurance products and services especially at doorstep. BALIC is the first life insurer to partner with IPPB. This partnership will allow BALIC to leverage IPPB’s last mile reach for building awareness about life insurance.
India Post Payments Bank (IPPB)
IPPB has been set up as Public Limited Company under Department of Posts (DoP) with 100% Government of India (GOI) equity. It was launched on September 1, 2018 in New Delhi. It has begun operations with 650 branches and 3,250 access points across the country. It leverages DoP’s network, resources and reach to make low-cost, quality and simple financial services easily accessible to customers in the country.
It offers basic banking services acceptance of demand deposits, remittance services, internet banking and other specified services. It does not lending services. It can accept deposits up to Rs. 1 lakh per account from individuals and small businesses. It can issue ATM/debit cards but not credit cards. It can also issue other prepaid payment instruments. It can also distribute non-risk sharing simple financial products like mutual funds and insurance products.
Union Government is going to launch Rs.500 crore Credit Enhancement Fund (CEF) in July 2018 to facilitate infrastructure investments by insurance and pension funds.
The CEF provides additional source of assaurance or gaurantee that borrower will service their loan. It also helps borrower to raise loans at lower interest rates. The fund was first announced in Union Budget for fiscal year 2016-17.
Credit Enhancement Fund (CEF)
CEF will provide credit enhancement for infrastructure projects which will help in upgrading credit ratings of bonds issued by infrastructure companies and facilitate investment from investors like pension and insurance funds.
The initial corpus of the fund will be Rs 500 crore and will be sponsored by IIFCL (India Infrastructure Finance Company). It will operate as a non-banking finance company (NBFC). IIFCL will hold 22.5% stake in the NBFC, while Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been offered by the Government to pick up 10% stake.
At present, only $110 billion is being invested in infrastructure in India, against requirement of $200 billion, leading many analysts to classify India as infrastructure deficit country. Most of the present infrastructure project financing is done by banking system. But all these lenders are saddled with problem of non-performing assets (NPAs). So there is need for the private sector to be more active on the infrastructure investment front. CEF will serve as alternative for rising of money for infrastructure projects through corporate bonds.