In her Budget speech, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government would divest its stake in LIC through an IPO.
Employees of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) will observe a one-day strike against the Centre's proposed divestment plan. Established in 1956, LIC has around 1,14,000 employees and about 290 million policyholders.
The employees are also protesting against the government's proposal to privatise one general insurer and enhance the FDI limit in the insurance industry from 49 percent to 74 percent.
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In her Budget speech, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government would divest its stake in LIC through an IPO. At present, LIC is 100 percent owned by the government of India and is the country's largest insurance company. The IPO is likely to be brought out in the second half of FY21.
Explained | Why public sector employees across India are protesting against privatisation and what is Centre’s response
The strike by the LIC employees comes two days after the nationwide bank strike which impacted banking services throughout the country. The United Forum of Bank Union (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, called for a 2-day strike, which saw the participation of over 10 lakh bank employees and officers.
The All India Insurance Employees’ Association (AIIEA) said it has called for the strike with other trade unions in the industry against the government's decision since they are not in the interest of the insurance industry, the country’s economy and people.
The National Federation of Insurance Field Workers' of India (NFIFWI) has also decided to go on a two-hour walk-out strike on March 18.
Read: Govt proposes to hike in LIC's authorised capital to Rs 25,000 crore
AIIEA general secretary Shreekant Mishra said the proposed disinvestment is the first step towards the privatisation of LIC. "The LIC has been very successful in meeting its objectives. Disinvestment is the first step towards privatisation. Therefore, LIC’s IPO violates the very objectives of its creation," he said, as per the Hindu's report.
Speaking to IANS, he said, "The unions in LIC will go on strike on Thursday protesting against the central government's decisions like (a) hiking FDI cap from 49 percent to 74 percent (b) Divesting of stakes in LIC by an IPO and demanding early conclusion of wage revision."
According to Mishra, the LIC management has now offered a 16 percent wage hike after four rounds of talks.