Steel consumption in India on rise

Till date almost all indicators were giving me pessimistic results. In the month of Feb 2009, the Industrial Production again shrank. However today I got this news:

Steel consumption in the country rose 3.8 percent and production increased 1.2 percent in the last quarter, Steel Secretary Pramod Rastogi said at the conference. Rural housing and infrastructure will continue to boost demand, he said.

This is probably the first credible indicator that suggests that the worst is probably over for India. Now its time for me to further boost the country’s GDP by drinking a mug of Beer

Money Laundering and Insurance selling

These agents are paid a commission of about 25% of the premium collected (plus a 40% bonus if the targets are met) Although the practice is illegal, but most agents offer a 10% of the policy premium back to the customer as a kickback. Now this kickback is a big source of money laundering.

If an agent sells all the policies in his name, then after paying the tax and kickbacks, hardly any commission would be left for him to earn his bread. Hence instead of selling the policy in his name, he would sell a part of the policy in a businessman’s name. The businessman would hence use the channel to legalize his black money, the agent is able to reduce his tax burden and the black money gets dissipated to the policy holders who receive kickbacks. A very simple arrangement.

As per LIC website, it has over 10,02,109 agents all across the nation. So its not as small as an operation that it sounds like. If you are still skeptical, ask your broker how come there are so many high profile agents from leading business families and he will spill the beans.