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26th May 2023

All-in-one policy plan to spread insurance in India

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) is developing an affordable single policy that covers health, life, property, and accident risks in order to safeguard residents and speed up claim settlements by merging death records onto a single industry platform.

What is the need for an affordable single insurance policy in India?

  • Simplified Coverage: Instead of managing multiple policies and premiums, a comprehensive policy streamlines the insurance process and offers ease of administration.
  • Cost Efficiency: Combining various insurance coverages into a single policy can lead to cost savings for individuals.
  • Comprehensive Protection: A single insurance policy covering health, life, property, and accident risks ensures comprehensive protection for individuals.
  • Flexibility and Customization: An affordable single insurance policy can be designed to allow individuals to customize coverage based on their specific needs.
  • Enhanced Risk Mitigation: By integrating different types of risks under a single policy, individuals can benefit from a more comprehensive risk mitigation strategy.
  • Increased Insurance Penetration: An affordable single insurance policy that covers multiple risks can encourage higher insurance penetration.

Snapshot of Indian Insurance market

  • The Indian Insurance market is expected to reach $200 BN by 2027.
  • India is 9th largest Life Insurance Market globally.
  • Insurance density in India has increased from $ 11.1 in 2001 to $ 91 in 2021 (Life insurance- $ 69, Non life insurance – $ 22)
  • Insurance penetration in India has been steadily increasing (from 2.7% in 2000 to 4.2% in 2021)
  • Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY is the largest health assurance scheme in the world and is funded by the Government.

What are the IRDA plans to compensate the protection gaps through the initiative?

  • Bima Trinity: The IRDA is striving to create an "UPI-like moment" in insurance through a plan called the "Bima Trinity".
  • Bima Vistar: A new Bima Sugam platform will integrate insurers and distributors on to one platform, while the regulator is developing a possible lynchpin product Bima Vistar, which will be a bundled risk cover for life, health, property and casualties or accidents.
  • Bima Vaahaks (carriers): The next part of the trinity involves a women-centric workforce of Bima Vaahaks (carriers) in each Gram Sabha to convince the women heads of each household that a composite insurance product like Bima Vistar can come in handy if there is any distress.
    • With many States digitising their birth and death registries on the IRDA platform, if integrated with those registries, claims could be settled as fast as six to eight hours or a day.

Will the latest amendment benefit the residents?

  • Attracting investment: These initiatives are part of a broader overhaul, including legislative amendments to attract more investments through differentiated licences for niche players similar to the banking sector.
  • Increasing accessibility: It would make insurance “available, affordable and accessible” to citizens with a ‘Gram Sabha- to district- to State-level’ approach.
  • Increased employment: These changes could double the number of jobs in the sector to 1.2 crore.
  • Addition of value added service: The IRDA is proposing amendments to the insurance laws that will allow differentiated capital requirements for niche insurers and permit players to add value-added services to the policies they sell.
  • Enable the entry of new players: The proposed amendments will also enable the entry of new players in the form of micro, regional, small, captive players, specialised players, and even composite licences, which will be able to cater to different geographies and segments of the population.

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority or IRDA

  • Founded: 1999
  • IRDA is an autonomous body that is responsible for managing the insurance industry of India, which covers both life insurance and general insurance companies. 

Judicial Recusals


The former Supreme Court justice recently refused to recuse himself from hearing a plea by a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer to present further evidence to support his Gujarat High Court appeal against his conviction in a 1990 custodial death case.

What is Judicial Recusal?

  • Recusal is removal of oneself as a judge or policy maker in a particular matter, especially because of a conflict of interest.
  • It is a basic precept that no one should be a judge in his or her own case.
  • Courts must keep the promise of dispensing fair and impartial justice, and must decide controversies without bias.
  • Recent Example in this regard: In 2019, CJI Ranjan Gogoi refused to recuse himself for some adverse oral remarks, saying that the plea had ‘enormous potential to damage the institution’.
  • Absence of statute: There is no statute laying down the minimum procedure which judges must follow in order to ensure the impartiality.

Types of judiciary recusal in practise

Automatic Recusal

Plea for recusal (personal interest)

Case of Justice Markandey Katju

  • He followed the practice of automatic recusal when he withdrew his name from the Novartis case by saying that it would not be proper for him to deal with the appeal filed by Novartis.
  • His withdrawal from the case was apparently meant to preclude fears of bias in the MNC camp on account of an article he had written five years earlier against liberal grant of pharma patents


  • Case of Justice S. H. Kapadia
  • Disclosing the fact that he owns some shares in Vedanta, he asked the lawyers appearing in the case at Punjab High Court whether he should recuse himself from hearing the case if the lawyers had any objections.
  • Had there been any objections the judge would have recused from the case


Why do judges recuse?

  • Withdrawal: A judge can withdraw from a case if there is a potential conflict of interest, such as holding shares in a litigant company or having a prior or personal association with a party.
  • Principle of due process of law: This practice stems from the principle of due process of law and the principle of justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done.
  • Pecuniary Interest: The Supreme Court has adopted the Restatement of the Values of Judicial Life, which forbids a judge from deciding a case involving any entity where he holds pecuniary interest unless the concerned parties have no objections.

Recusal of Judges in foreign jurisdictions?

  • The United States has a well-defined law on recusals, codified in the American Bar Association's Model Code of Judicial Conduct. It specifies three grounds for recusal:
    • Financial or corporate interest
    • Material witness or lawyer
    • Relationship

Niti Aayog releases Health index


The NITI Aayog recently released the ‘annual health index’ for the Covid year 2020-21.

Key highlights of the annual health index:

  • Top Performer: The three southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana emerged as the top performers among the 19 'larger states' in the index.
  • Low Performer: Bihar (19th), Uttar Pradesh (18th) and Madhya Pradesh (17th) are at the bottom of the list.
  • Incremental Performer: Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Odisha emerged as the top three performers in 2020-21, as compared to previous index (2019-20).
  • Smaller states and UT: Tripura was the best among the 'smaller states', while Delhi ranked at the bottom of the Union territories' list.

About the Index

  • The NITI Aayog's annual health index measures the performance of states and UTs on a "weighted composite score incorporating 24 health performance indicators".
  • The health index assesses states and UTs on two parameters
    • incremental performance (year-on-year progress)
    • overall performance
  • Performance indicators: The performance ranks of states and UTs based on 24 indicators grouped under the domains of ‘health outcomes’, ‘governance and information’, and ‘key inputs/ processes’.

RBI become a net seller of US dollars in FY2023


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) became a net seller of US dollars in fiscal year 2023, after being a net purchaser for three consecutive years.

Key Highlights:

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) sold $25.52 billion in the spot foreign exchange market.
  • The RBI sold dollars to reduce volatility in the rupee, which has been under pressure due to the Russia-Ukraine war and interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve.

Why did the RBI become a net seller of US dollars?

  • The RBI sold the greenback to prop up the rupee, which had depreciated due to higher import bills and foreign investors pulling out money from the domestic market.
    • If not, the rupee would have depreciated to 84-85 levels against the US currency.

Short News Article

Polity & Governance

E-Governance declaration in Kerala

Kerala's state government recently declared that the state had fully implemented e-governance.

About e-Sevanam

  • The e-governance programme has created a single-window portal, e-Sevanam, to deliver 900 services.
  • The e-office system has been implemented in the Secretariat, district collectorates, commissionerates and directorates, and the e-district project is being extended to taluk-level offices.
  • In panchayats, 250 services are now being delivered online.
  • Digital literacy: Achieving total e-governance, where an entire spectrum of government services are digitised, is seen as a major step forward in the State's journey towards 100% digital literacy.
  • The changes resulting from the implementation of e-governance will be a decisive factor in social progress.


New committee set up to oversee cheetah project

The Centre appointed a new steering committee to oversee the implementation of Project Cheetah, which was born to a translocated Namibian cheetah at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh in March 2023.

Key highlights:

  • The 11-member committee will be led by Dr. Rajesh Gopal, secretary-general of the Global Tiger Forum and closely associated with Project Tiger.
  • Mandate: To monitor the progress of the cheetah reintroduction programme, advise the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department and the National Tiger Conservation Authority, decide on opening up the cheetah habitat for eco-tourism, suggest regulations in this regard, and involve the local community in the project activities.

Project Cheetah:

  • The introduction of cheetahs in India is being done under Project Cheetah, which is the world's first intercontinental large wild carnivore translocation project.
  • Coexistence approach: India has opted for this approach. It is even more unique because this is the first time cheetahs will be reintroduced in an unfenced protected area (PA).


People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)

The National Campaign for Updation and Verification of People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) was launched in Goa recently, marking a significant step towards the documentation and preservation of India's rich biological diversity. 


  • The program of People's Biodiversity Register (PBR) is designed as a tool for the formal maintenance of local knowledge with proper validation. 
  • PBR is a record of knowledge, perception and attitude of people about natural resources, plants and animals, their utilization and conservation in a village or a panchayat.
  • As per the Biological Diversity Act 2002, Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) are created for “promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity” by local bodies across the country.
  • BMCs have been constituted by the local bodies in the States and Union Territories and are entrusted with preparation of the People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs), in consultation with local communities.


An Ordinance, its Constitutionality, and scrutiny


During a parliamentary recess, the President of India enacted the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023, using legislative authority under Article 123. This ordinance nullifies a Supreme Court verdict that granted the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) control over "services".

Key issues

  • Court’s verdict: The Court's verdict determined that the NCTD's Legislative Assembly holds authority over List II and List III, except for certain excluded entries.
    • The Union of India's executive power is limited to three entries, while the NCTD has exclusive power over "services."
  • Interpretation of the Union: However, the Union bypassed this interpretation by utilizing an ordinance to modify Article 239AA(3)(a) and expand the list of excepted matters. Amending the Constitution would be necessary for such changes, which goes beyond the power conferred to Parliament.

Alteration needs an amendment

  • Parliament's power under Article 239AA(7)(a) is to create laws that enforce or supplement the provisions of Article 239AA and address related matters. However, this power cannot be used to amend Article 239AA(3)(a).
  • Notably, Article 239AA(7)(b) specifies that Parliament's lawmaking under Article 239AA(7)(a) does not constitute a constitutional amendment under Article 368. Unlike Article 239AA(7)(b), Article 239AA(3)(a) lacks a similar provision.
  • Hence, modifying the scope of Article 239AA(3)(a) requires a constitutional amendment under Article 368 without any doubt.

A perspective

  • Invalid: The promulgation of the ordinance under Article 123 to expand the scope of excepted matters in Article 239AA(3)(a) is deemed void and subject to be invalidated for circumventing constitutional amendment procedures.
  • Compulsory constitutional amendment: The binding nature of a Constitution Bench's interpretation under Articles 141 and 144 cannot be negated by Article 123 without a constitutional amendment.
  • Ultimately, the ordinance is expected to be invalidated as the expansion of excepted matters in Article 239AA(3)(a) can only be accomplished by Parliament through Article 368.
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