Here is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.
1. Higher Premiums Fail To Deter Health Insurance Demand
Premiums of health and general insurance have risen in the last two months after the sector regulator introduced standardisation norms, directing companies to either add features to their products or make them uniform.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India permitted an increase of up to 5% in premiums. Beyond that, the regulator had the discretion to allow hikes on a case-to-case basis.
Standardised clauses are applicable on new policies filed by insurers on or after October 2020, and from April 2021 for existing products that are due for renewal.
The online insurance aggregator Policybazaar said as many as 43% of its customers have seen premiums rise by nearly 5%, while 15% witnessed price hikes ranging between 5% and 15%.
Standardisation alone hasn’t resulted in increased prices of policies.
2. Lakshmi Vilas Bank Moratorium To Be Lifted On Nov. 27
The Reserve Bank of India said the amalgamation of Lakshmi Vilas Bank with DBS Bank India Ltd. will come into force from Nov. 27 and the moratorium imposed on the crisis-ridden lender will be removed on that day.
The RBI issued the statement within hours of the Cabinet clearing the Scheme of Amalgamation of Lakshmi Vilas Bank with DBIL.
Depositors will be able to operate their accounts as customers of DBS Bank India with effect from Friday.
All the branches of will function as branches of DBS Bank India Ltd. with effect from this date, RBI said.
3. Sensex Slides 700 Points
India’s equity benchmark retreated from a record as an early rally in Asian equities faltered.
The S&P BSE Sensex ended 1.6% or 695 points lower at 43,828.
The NSE Nifty 50 index fell nearly 300 points from its record high to end 1.5% lower at 12,858.
All sectoral indices ended lower with the exception of the PSU Bank index.
Follow the day’s trading action here.
4. Global Investing Giants Make Their Post-Covid Stock Bets
Some of the world’s biggest investors say it’s time to position portfolios for an end to the pandemic. That doesn’t mean they agree on how best to do it.
One of JP Morgan Asset Management Inc.’s recommendations is to buy beaten-down shares of travel companies, airlines and hotels.
Fidelity International Ltd.’s multi-asset team is increasing holdings in regions such as Europe that are badly hit by the virus.
Franklin Templeton contends it’s still too early to move away from places like Asia that have better handled the crisis.
Vaccines updates have already triggered wild shifts in relative performance among industries, countries and stock-market investment styles. More here.
5. Centre Tells States To Consult Before Imposing Lockdowns
States and union territories can impose local restrictions like night curfew to check the spread of Covid-19, but they will have to consult the Centre before imposing any lockdown outside the containment zones, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Wednesday.
The new guidelines will be effective for the whole month of December with the focus of keeping active Covid-19 cases under control.
The ministry noted that new cases have been on the rise since the festive season and the onset of winter.
The government has very strictly said that movement of goods should not be hampered by any restrictions.
6. Festive Cheer For India’s Malls
Malls managed 80-85% sales this festive season, compared to that seen in Diwali 2019, according to Irfan Razack, at a time when Covid-19 has eaten into a number of businesses that require people to step out.
Shoppers dominated these footfalls as people prepared to celebrate India’s most auspicious month, albeit largely from home, the managing director of the Prestige Group told BloombergQuint.
“We should be happy at this level and this will continue till at least a year, year-and-a-half till the entire courage comes back,” he said.
Other contributors such as cinema sales will take a while to resume normalcy, he said.
Mall owners expect vacant shops to be filled very soon.
7. Pandemic Pushed Taj Hotels To Cut Costs
Indian Hotels Co., the luxury hotel chain run by the Tata Group, used the coronavirus-imposed lockdown to see where it could save costs.
“This was the historic opportunity to review our fixed and variable costs,” Chief Executive Officer Puneet Chhatwal said in a Bloomberg Television interview.
“The industry never experienced such a revenue decline in last 100 years,” he said.
Find out how the owner of the iconic Taj battled the pandemic-impact.
HDFC Life shares hit all-time high on optimistic outlook.
L&T’s construction arm wins order to build India’s longest river bridge.
8. India’s Animal Spirits Show Signs Of Revival
India’s economy showed more signs of a recovery taking hold in October, increasing the likelihood it will exit a pandemic-induced recession in the final quarter of this year.
Demand during the festival season helped boost three of the eight high-frequency indicators tracked by Bloomberg News last month, while three were unchanged and two deteriorated.
That kept the needle on a dial measuring so-called ‘Animal Spirits’ steady at 5 — a level arrived at by using the three-month weighted average to smooth out volatility in the single-month readings.
Here are key details from India’s economic scorecard in October.
9. South India Braces For Cyclone Nivar
Storm Nivar over the Bay of Bengal is likely to turn into a “very severe cyclone” by Wednesday night and may cause widespread damage to crops, mud houses and electricity poles in some southern Indian states.
The storm, which is likely to have a sustained wind speed of 120 to 130 kilometers per hour, will cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Wednesday midnight and early hours of Nov. 26, according to the India Meteorological Department.
The wind speed may even rise to as much as 145 kilometers, it said in a statement.
Heavy rain is expected in some areas of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for two days.
The cyclone will be intense enough to damage crops, plantations, trees, mud houses and communication and electric poles.
10. ‘You’re Not Like Other Muslims’ And Other Islamophobic Indianisms
Islamophobia is everywhere, on Twitter, when you’re house hunting, in a discussion with friends, at parties, in the midst of a divorce, because you expressed an opinion and, of course, in that all-time favourite ‘compliment’, writes Priya Ramani.
As Covid-19 deaths in Delhi climb to more than 100 every day, and a faltering economy results in record unemployment, Indians only want to discuss why Muslim men shouldn’t marry Hindu women.
There’s no shortage of everyday humiliations as we find ourselves free to air bigoted thoughts with zero consequences.
If only we tried half as hard to highlight the love as haters do the hate, we might have a chance at winning this battle.
Otherwise, we’ll just have to be mute witnesses to the pain that comes from being the recipient of all this hate.